Odisha train crash: ‘Note on Hosadurga flaw could’ve averted tragedy’

The direction shown was wrong and the alert loco pilot stopped his train before entering the wrong line (Down Line).

Published: 06th June 2023 09:45 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th June 2023 10:13 AM   |  A+A-


For representational purpose. Restoration of train tracks in progress at the accident site in Balasore on Sunday | DEBADATTA MALLICK

By Express News Service

CHITRADURGA: An alert loco pilot of Sampark Kranti Express averted a Balasore-like train tragedy on February 8 between the Birur and Chikjajur section of the Mysuru Division of South Western Railway.

The pilot brought this matter to the notice of the Principal Chief Operations Manager (PCOM) of SWR Hari Shankar Verma, who wrote to the General Manager of SWR on February 9, highlighting the grave flaw in the railway safety system.

The letter stated that Sampark Kranti Express was signalled to proceed, but the point was wrongly set towards the Down Line on which a goods train was approaching. 

The loco pilot of Sampark Kranti Express, who knew that he had been given the wrong signal, stopped the train immediately near Hosadurga. This action helped in averting a major tragedy.

While observing that the point was set to the Down Main Line (wrong line), Verma stated that the train was supposed to pass through the Up Main Line as per PLCT. 

The direction shown was wrong and the alert loco pilot stopped his train before entering the wrong line (Down Line). Had the train proceeded, there would have been a head-on collision with the goods train approaching Hosadurga Road Station in the down direction. If serious attention was given to this note, the train accident at Balasore could have been averted and hundreds of lives could have been saved. 

Signalling system at Hosadurga similar to Bahanaga Bazar station

The Bahanaga Bazar station, where the tragedy occurred, has a layout similar to that of Hosadurga Road Station. The signalling system is almost the same. The letter raised questions about how the electronics signal maintainer could have altered the interlocking without opening the relay room in violation of the Railway Board’s guidelines.

It also referred to signalling cables, which are often brought to the junction box at the yard, before being routed to the relay room as a temporary set-up and suggested that once the relay room is ready, the signalling cables should be dismantled and the cables sent back to the relay room immediately. However, it was not done at Hosadurga Road Station.

ALSO READ | Odisha train crash: Key takeaways from preliminary reports to gutwrenching survivor stories

“This setup makes it susceptible to meddling and interference with the interlocking system. The Operations Department had stressed the need for correcting the system immediately, including sensitising the staffers to avoid shortcuts that could lead to major accidents,” the letter stated. A senior railway official said the safety protocol should be given priority henceforth. 

With the letter going viral, railway commuters have started demanding a thorough investigation into the incident, he added.


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp