Railway Safety Commissioner begins probe into deaths at St Thomas Mount station
Public hearing on safety of EMUs to be held on July 30, says official.
CHENNAI:A day after four persons travelling on the footboard of an electrical multiple unit (EMU) train were killed after they hit the wall at the St Thomas Mount station, the Southern Circle Railway Safety Commissioner, K A Manoharan, commenced his inquiry into the incident on Wednesday.
Taking stock of the situation, the Commissioner inspected the accident spot, tracks and the wall dividing the platform Nos. 3 and 4 at the St Thomas Mount station.
Speaking to reporters, Manoharan said that a public hearing on the safety of suburban trains would be conducted on July 30 at the Chennai Divisional Railway Manager’s office. “After receiving suggestions from rail users, we will recommend required measures to improve the passenger safety,” he said.
Noting that the concrete fence between the platforms was built to improve the safety of rail passengers, he said that the next course of action would decided after studying the various parameters involved in suburban train operation.
“As of now, the concrete structure cannot be removed. However, we are looking into the possibilities of reducing the height and width of the fence,” he said, adding that the Railways would also study safety aspects at all spots (including Pazhavanthangal, St Thomas Mount and other places) where passengers fell off the trains and accordingly corrective measures would be recommended,” he added.
While ruling out the possibilities to introduce the automatic doors in EMU trains, the commissioner pointed out that such a facility can be provided only for air-conditioned EMU trains. “It would not be possible to close the doors in regular EMU trains,” he said.Besides, a team of railway officials has verified whether the track and concrete fence have minimum safe distance mandated for EMU trains.
The workers have assessed the earth and aerial distances between track and the wall at the station.
Railways to intensify awareness drive
Railways has asked the Government Railway Police and RPF to intensify the awareness drive against the footboard travel in the four suburban sections of Chennai
In the report titled “Wall at St. Thomas Mount station claims 5 lives” carried in these columns on Wednesday, it was mistakenly mentioned that five people died in the accident, when only four people died. One person was wrongly identified to have been killed in the accident. The error is regretted