By Jonathan Mason-June 5th, 2023.
Two days after a massive triple-train accident killed around 288 people, the Railway Board on Sunday explained how the triple train collision at Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore took place.
“There are four lines in the station. Two are straight main lines. Trains do not stop on those lines. The other two lines are loop lines. If we have to stop a train, we stop them on loop lines. At the time of the accident, two mail express trains were passing through the station — in different directions,” said Jaya Varma Sinha, member of Operation and Business Development, Railway Board.
Coromandel Express crash: Here’s what the Railway Board said:
1. At the station, the main lines are in the middle and the loop lines are on either side of the main lines.
2. During the time of the accident, two trains were stopped to make way for the two Express trains that were not supposed to stop. On the loop lines, two goods (freight) trains were waiting at that time.
3. Two main lines were cleared for Coromandel and the Bengaluru-Howrah express train. Everything was ready, the signal was green. “Green signal means the way ahead is clear for the driver and the driver can use the maximum speed,” Jaya Sinha said.
4. The permitted speed for the Coromandel at that place was 130km/hr. The Coromandel was at the speed of 128km/hr.
5. The Bengaluru-Howrah was running at a speed of 126km/hr, within the permitted speed limit.
6. There was no overspeeding, signal was green. “For some reason, which is under investigation, there was an accident on the Coromandel Express. The preliminary report indicated some signalling fault but I won’t comment on it until the report is submitted. But there should not be any misconception that three trains crashed. Only one train, the Coromandel, encountered an accident and its engine piled on the goods train on the loop line,” Jaya Sinha said.
7. The impact was so huge because the train was at its maximum speed. The goods train was heavy and loaded with iron ore. It withstood the impact of the collision. The full impact of the collision came on Coromandel.
8. The Coromandel Express train was of LHB coaches. “LHB coaches are very safe and they don’t turn turtle. But in this case, it so happened that the entire impact came on to the Coromandel Express and no technology can save such a mishap,” Jaya Sinha said.
9. The derailed coaches of the Coromandel moved on the other main line where the Yesvantpur-Howrah Express train was passing through and impacted the last few coaches of Yesvantpur.
Police in the Indian state of Odisha have registered a criminal case of “death by negligence” relating to the train crash on Friday that killed 275 people, as critics accused the government of trying to shift blame for the disaster.
The report filed by police did not name any specific person as being responsible but stated that “culpability of specific railway employees has not been ascertained, which will be unearthed during the investigation”.