Odisha train accident: Rail minister Vaishnaw says ‘root cause’ identified | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Odisha train accident: Rail minister Vaishnaw says ‘root cause’ identified

Jun 04, 2023 09:57 AM IST

Investigators are looking into possible causes behind train accident in Odisha's Balasore, including whether human error or signal failure played a role.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Sunday said the root cause of the three-train accident in Odisha's Balasore has been identified. Speaking to news agency ANI, the minister, who was present at the accident site to oversee the restoration work, said the probe into the horrific train accident is complete and the commissioner of railway safety will soon submit the report.

Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw.(ANI)
Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw.(ANI)

“The commissioner of railway safety has investigated the matter and let the investigation report come but we have identified the cause of the incident and the people responsible for it... It happened due to a change in electronic interlocking,” Vaishnaw told ANI, without elaborating on it. “Right now our focus is on restoration.”

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The Chennai-bound Coromandel Express carrying around 1500 passengers crashed into a stationary freight train at Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Odisha Balasore on Friday night, killing at least 294 and injuring hundreds of passengers. The wreckage derailed another express train running north from Bengaluru to Kolkata that was passing the site.

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What is electronic interlocking?

Interlocking is an integral part of Railway Signalling that ensures the safe passage of the train through the controlled area. Railway signalling has come a long way from un-interlocked signalling system to present-day modern electronic signalling. According to the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) of Indian Railways, the interlocking logic in the EI System is based on software which makes any modification easy without the need for any wiring changes.

What we know so far

Initial findings suggest that a “mistaken” signal likely led to the Coromandel Express entering a side track, called loop line, on which a goods train was parked a few metres ahead. According to a preliminary probe by senior railway officials, the line on which the two trains collided was “partially corroded”.

The report, seen by HT, stated that the Coromandel Express entered the loop line near the Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Balasore around 7pm on Friday because of a “mistaken” signal, which was immediately withdrawn.

“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.

The exact 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 into the accident.

Vaishnaw said the restoration work is in full swing with an aim to finish it by Wednesday morning.

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