07 JUN 2023

CBI Team At Odisha Train Crash Site As Railways Hints At "Sabotage"

Investigators are probing an electronic track management system that they suspect malfunctioned and caused India’s deadliest train crash in more than two decades, railways officials said on Sunday.

At least 275 people were killed on Friday when a passenger train hit a stationary freight train, went off the tracks and hit another passenger train passing in the opposite direction in the eastern state of Odisha.

The computer-controlled track management system, called the “interlocking system”, directs a train to an empty track at the point where two tracks meet, Sandeep Mathur, principal executive director for signalling, told reporters.- -YP Rajesh

“It is supposed to be tamper-proof, error-proof. It is called a fail-safe system, even if it fails the signal will turn red and the train will be stopped,” said Jaya Varma Sinha, a member of the Railway Board that runs the giant state monopoly.

“However, as it is being suspected, there was some kind of a problem in the system.”

This could include someone digging in the area through which cables of the electronic system pass and damaging them in the process, or a short-circuit, or a machine failing.

Explaining the sequence of events that led to the crash at Bahanaga station in Balasore district, Sinha said the Coromandel Express heading to Chennai from Kolkata moved out of the main track, entered a loop track – a side track used to park trains – at a speed of 128 kph (80 mph) and crashed into a freight train carrying iron ore that was parked on the loop track.

The crash caused the engine and the first four or five coaches of the Coromandel Express to jump the tracks, topple and hit the last two coaches of the Yeshwantpur-Howrah train heading in the opposite direction on the second main track, she said.

“99.9% there is no possibility of the machine failing but there is a 0.1% chance of failure,” she said. “That possibility is always there in all kinds of systems.”

Leave a Comment

Please check your email
Please check your message
Thank you. Your message has been sent.
Error, email not sent