‘Mistaken’ signal likely led to Coromandel Express ramming goods train: Railways

Jun 03, 2023 03:34 PM IST

A preliminary probe by senior railway officials said that a ‘mistaken’ signal likely led to the Coromandel Express ramming the goods train in Odisha’s Balasore

A “mistaken” signal likely led to the Coromandel Express entering the line on which a goods train was parked a few metres ahead, eventually resulting in a three-train accident in Odisha’s Balasore that has killed 290 people and injured 900, according to a preliminary probe by senior railway officials. The report also said the line on which the two trains collided was “partially corroded”.

The three-train accident in Odisha’s Balasore has killed 290 people and injured 900. (ANI)
The three-train accident in Odisha’s Balasore has killed 290 people and injured 900. (ANI)

The report, which HT has seen, says the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express train, travelling from Howrah entered the loop line near the Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Balasore around 7pm on Friday after a “mistaken” signal, which was immediately withdrawn.

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“After careful observation, (we) came to the conclusion that the signal was given and taken off for the main line for 12841 (Coromandel Express), but this train entered the loop line and dashed with the goods train which was on the loop line and derailed,” said the report signed by four senior railway officials, who inspected the accident site on Friday night.

A loop line is a railway track that diverts from the main line and rejoins it at a further distance. They essentially serve as service lanes for trains to make stoppages or overtake maneuver without affecting other trains.

The two-page handwritten report by senior railway subordinates JN Subudhi, RK Banerjee, RK Panjira and AK Mohantu was submitted on Saturday.

To be sure, the precise cause of the accident will only be determined after a detailed technical inquiry by the commissioner of railway safety. The Union railway ministry has already ordered a high-level probe to ascertain the cause of the accident.

The report said the observations were based on observations and records from the signal room at Bahanagar Bazar Railway station.

“In the meantime, Bangalore -Superfast Express (12864) passed through another line and two coaches of the train derailed and capsized,” the report stated.

The two-page report said 21 of Coromandel Express train’s coaches and two of the Bangalore-Superfast Express’s coaches were derailed. It also mentioned that the Coromandel Express entered the loop line at a speed of over 120km/hour.

The report also said that the sleeper coaches on both trains were impacted less than the air-conditioned ones.

The railway line in question is not covered under the railways’ anti-collision mechanism Kavach, which automatically stops a train if another is detected to be on the same line.

Union railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said, “We will ensure such an accident does not happen in future,” he said.

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    State Correspondent for Chhattisgarh. Reports Maoism, Politics, Mining and important developments from the state. Covered all sorts of extremism in Central India. Reported from Madhya Pradesh for eight years.

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