Four trains derail in a day, Piyush Goyal holds safety meeting

Rajdhani Express near Delhi, Shaktipunj Express in UP, a goods train in Maharashtra and a shunting locomotive in Chennai derailed, compelling new the railway minister to hold safety meeting.

Published: 07th September 2017 02:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 08th September 2017 08:11 AM   |  A+A-

The wheels of the Jabalpur-bound Shaktipunj Express that jumped the track near the Obra Dam station in Sonbhadra district of UP on Thursday | PTI

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Three trains and a shunting locomotive, including the Ranchi-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, derailed on Thursday taking the total number of derailments in a month, since the Utkal accident, to seven.

A railway spokesperson said, the Ranchi-New Delhi Rajdhani derailed near Minto Bridge railway station in Delhi at 11.45 am. “No casualties were reported,” added the spokesperson.

In Sonbhadra district of Uttar Pradesh, seven coaches of Howrah-Jabalpur Shaktipunj Express derailed at 6.25 am, said a railway spokesperson, adding that no passengers were injured.

The official said, “The speed of the train was very slow and no casualties have been reported. The passengers were adjusted in other bogies and the train left for its destination.”

The Railways was investigating reasons behind derailments but prime facie both derailments appeared to have happened because of damaged tracks.

Later, during the day a goods train derailed in Maharashtra. Two wagons of the train derailed at around 3.55 pm, even as the Railways was dealing with the other two incidents. Sunil Udasi, chief public relations officer of Central Railway said, “Two wagons of the goods trains derailed in Khandala on Thursday afternoon. We are clearing the tracks.”

The derailed locomotive of the Delhi-Ranchi Rajdhani Express train near Minto Bridge in New Delhi on Thursday | Shekhar Yadav

Meanwhile, the new railway minister Piyush Goyal chaired a high-level safety meet to zero in on issues causing frequent derailments. Unmanned level crossings and defects in tracks were found to be the major causes of the accidents.

According to the Railways, five areas of focus have been identified for taking action. These include removing unmanned railway crossing, according priority to track replacement/renewal, expediting procurement of new rails, stopping manufacturing of conventional ICF design coaches and installing anti-fog LED lights on locomotives.  

The series of derailments started in August when Utkal Express derailed in Muzaffarnagar district of UP killing 22 people.  After that, nearly 100 passengers were injured when 10 coaches of Kaifiyat Express derailed in UP on August 23.

Former railway minister Suresh Prabhu was moved out of the railway ministry owing to the recent accidents and slow pace of reforms in railways. The Railway s also brought in Ashwani Lohani as chairman of the Railway Board in place of A K Mital, who quit after taking responsibility of the derailments.

Several officials, including Member Engineering were sent on leave based on prime facie evidence. Railway accepted negligence by its officials as cause of Utkal Express derailment.

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