CHENNAI: With the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), Southern Region, KA Manoharan all set to probe the death of three persons who fell from a moving suburban train last Thursday, doubts hover over what caused the freak accident.
Although railway authorities affirm that passenger negligence is responsible, there are concerns about the signal post’s proximity to the track. Was the signal post too close to the track for comfort?
Seven passengers who were travelling on the footboard of a packed EMU train (No. 40518 Chengalpattu-Chennai Beach) fell to the ground after one of their bags got entangled in a ladder attached to the signal post. Two died on the spot while another youth passed away on the way to hospital. The others severely injured were admitted to hospital for treatment.
An RPF source said that following the incident, local people as well as passengers told railway officials who came for a spot inspection that the signal post must be shifted. “They were informed that was not possible, after which the suggestion to remove the ladder attached to the signal was made,” he said. The probe is likely to go into technical details of the incident and find out if the railways was responsible in any way. Commuters want the probe to examine the signal post.
C Sudhakar, whose friend Praveen Raj died in the mishap, said he believed the signal was close to the railway line. Sudhakar, who works in a logistic company in St Thomas Mount, escaped unhurt. “This particular spot has seen several incidents over the years. Officials must take note of this and take corrective measures immediately,” he said.
It is likely the CRS who will probe the mishap on Wednesday will consider this possibility, besides looking into other contributing factors. “We have received similar complaints about the signal post. It shall be looked into,” a source told Express.
However railway officials say the signal was well clear of the track, conforming to prescribed standards. “There must be a minimum 2.15 m space between the signal post and the track so that a safe environment can be maintained even if a passenger tries to stretch. In this particular spot, the gap was 2.4 m. There is a proposal of removing the ladders attached to the signal for its maintenance. However no final decision has been taken,” the official said. He added that steps would be taken to ensure a gap of more than 2.5 m between the track and signal posts in new lines.