CHENNAI: Derailment of 15 compartments of the Bangalore-Kanyakumari Island Express in Vellore district on Friday has brought the focus on conventional coaches, which lack safety aspects like anti-climbing feature that reduces the impact of derailment.
A report of the High Level Safety Review Committee appointed by the Railway Ministry pointed out that ICF’s passenger coaches designed several decades ago are no more safe as operational speed has been raised to 100 -120 kmph with trailing loads of 20-24 coaches. The committee in its 2012 report had recommended several improvements.
“Lack of anti-climbing features due to screw coupling with buffers and weak securing arrangement between coach body and bogies makes them vulnerable in the present operating environment,” the report says, adding that the anti climbing features are not only essential to reduce the effect of impact during direct collision of passenger trains, but also during train derailments when coaches encounter severe deceleration beyond four times the gravitational acceleration.
Taking the accident data for five years between 2006 and 2011 for analysis, the Committee pointed out that derailments constitute largest chunk of 50 per cent of total accidents followed by 36 per cent at unmanned level crossings.
Analysis of derailments based on their time of occurrence indicates no correlation though there is slightly higher possibility of derailments during 22:00 to 06:00 hrs, the report added.
The Committee also recommended that Railways must strategize to utilize only LHB design coaches for speeds 110 Kmph and above with 18 and above coach formations on the trunk routes.
While Friday’s derailment was a major incident in Tamil Nadu in 2016, five major derailments were reported in the State during 2015.
According to Railway officials, derailments happen due to a combination three reasons such as defective coaches, poor maintenance of track and human error. The Loco Pilot of the previous train would have felt a jerk on the derailed portion, they claimed.