What causes the frequent accidents at Chennai local trains?

The tragic death of five persons at St Thomas station has raised questions over safety of suburban rail passengers.

Published: 25th July 2018 05:47 AM  |   Last Updated: 25th July 2018 10:46 AM   |  A+A-

Accident spot near St Thomas mount station, in which 2 people died and 5 injured on Thursday morning.(Sunish P Surendran | Express Photo Service)

Express News Service

CHENNAI: While the tragic death of five persons at St. Thomas mount station on Tuesday raised questions over safety of suburban rail passengers, the reasons for the repeated accidents range from lack of alertness over usage of backpacks to absence of automatic closing doors in EMU trains, according to regular rail passengers and experts.

“Be it in Chennai or Mumbai, suburban train commutation requires a little alertness. Each year more than 50,000 commuters, mostly college students, are getting added to the suburban network. Due to the recent bus fare hike more than a lakh passengers migrated to trains. But,  these new train commuters lack vigil while travelling in trains,” said R Shankar, a rail enthusiast who lived in Mumbai for 15 years.

READ | Wall at St Thomas mount claims five lives; seven people killed in just five days

Seven persons who died at St. Thomas Mount in the last couple of days carried backpacks while travelling on footboards.“The backpack carried by students and others cause inconvenience to other passengers and also risk to the carriers. For new commuters, travel behaviour should be taught in the colleges, “ said K Baskar, a member of Divisional Rail Users Consultative Committee (DRUCC), Chennai.

He added that Railways should fit automatic doors in all EMU trains. “Width of an EMU coach  is higher than that of a regular Express coach. Railways should fix the distance between track and poles/wall keeping EMU trains in mind,” he said.

Over 600 suburban services cater to about 11 lakhs passengers a day in four sections.

Southern railway officials said fitting automatic closing doors for EMU trains is practically not feasible and would be a cumbersome process. “Though such an idea has been discussed in the past, railways never attempted for even a pilot project as suburban train handles a large number of passengers,” said an officer.

Bus commuters who migrated to trains lack alertness required for suburban train travel
Use of backpacks while travelling on footboard
Lesser distance between track and pole/wall
Absence of automatic closing doors

Rs 1 lakh solatium to kin of the deceased 
Chennai: Expressing grief over the death of five commuters at the St Thomas Mount railway station when the train hit the concrete poles, Chief Minister Edappadi K Palaniswami on Tuesday announced a solatium of ` 1 lakh each to the bereaved families. He also announced an aid of `50,000 to the injured persons 

Railway’s attitude the reason: CPM
Chennai: Lethargic attitude of railway authorities was the reason for the fatal accident at St Thomas Mount railway station, said CPM leader K Balakrishnan. He said he accident on Tuesday could have been avoided if announcements had been made cautioning the public.


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  • Naina Masilamani

    Passengers irrational attitude & late running of trains apart from usage of backpacks are the real reasons. As a DRUCC Member,I have to be honest in telling that the Officials responsible for Operating trains are mostly not coming out and do travel in EMUs for inspection during peak hours and as they don't know/brother about the plight/ordeal of travelling public!
    4 years ago reply
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