Lapses in signalling-circuit-alteration caused Odisha train accident: Union Railway Minister

The Union Minister said that the Commissioner of Railway Safety under the Ministry of Civil Aviation has completed its inquiry into the Balasore train accident, which claimed 295 lives.
FILE - Rescue operations at the Balasore train crash site. (Photo | AFP)
FILE - Rescue operations at the Balasore train crash site. (Photo | AFP)

NEW DELHI: The lapses in the ‘signalling-circuit-alteration’ leading to wrong signals caused the tragic triple train accident in Odisha’s Balasore district on June 2, said Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw on Friday.

The Union Minister further said that the Commissioner of Railway Safety under the Ministry of Civil Aviation has completed its inquiry into the Balasore train accident, which claimed 295 lives.

“The rear-collision was due to the lapses in the signalling-circuit-alteration carried out at the North Signal Goomty (of the station) in the past, and during the execution of the signalling work related to replacement of Electric Lifting Barrier for level crossing gate no. 94 at the Station. These lapses resulted in wrong signalling to Train No. 12841 wherein the UP Home Signal indicated a Green aspect for run-through movement on the UP main line of the station, but the crossover connecting the UP main line to the UP loop line (crossover 17A/B) was set to the UP loop line; the wrong signalling resulted in the Train No.12841 traversing on the UP loop line, and eventual rear-collision with the Goods train (No. N/DDIP) standing there,” Ashwini Vaishnaw told the Rajya Sabha.

The minister was replying to questions by Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader John Brittas and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader Sanjay Singh in Rajya Sabha on the tragedy.

The tragic incident of the triple train accident on June 2 involving the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express, the Howrah-bound Shalimar Express and a goods train.

He further said that 295 passengers lost their lives while 176 sustained grievous injuries, 451 suffered simple injuries and 180 received First Aid Treatment and left.

“In the said accident 41 deceased persons have not yet been identified,” Vaishnaw told the Upper House.

He further said that the Departmental Inquiry Committee and the Commissioner of Railway Safety under the Ministry of Civil Aviation are the main agencies probing the causes of different accidents.

“During the last 5 years (2018-2023), 201 accident cases were investigated by the Departmental Inquiry committee and 18 cases have been investigated by the Commission of Railway Safety,” the Union Minister said, adding that the focus of the inquiry is to find out the root cause of the accident and recommend the required measures to prevent the reoccurrence of the accident being investigated.

“As per the recommendations suggested by the different accident inquiry committees in their report, appropriate action has been taken by the Railway Administration,” Ashwini Vaishnaw said. 

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