WB train accident: Kanchanjunga Express stopped at all red signals, goods train violated speed restrictions, says Railway Board

The passenger train adhered to the norms, prima facie findings showed

The Kanchanjunga Express-goods train collision Railway workers help to restore services at the accident site following a collision between a passenger and a goods train in West Bengal | AFP

The Kanchanjunga Express-goods train collision in West Bengal, that claimed nine lives, is likely to have occurred due to the violation of speed restrictions by the latter, prima facie findings showed.

The goods train violated the restrictions it had to follow given the "defective" automatic signalling system on the section and rammed into the stationary Kanchanjunga Express train while "over-speeding", the Railway Board said on Monday.

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According to the Railway Board, the loco pilot of the goods train was given authorisation to cross all red signals between RNI and CAT as the automatic signalling system was "defective." However, the train's speed was above the permissible limit prescribed for this kind of a situation.

The goods train driver was "over-speeding" and due to this, it rammed into the Kanchanjunga Express between RNI and CAT, the board said while responding to reports that the driver, who was killed in the accident, was given a written authority called TA 912 by the station master of Ranipatra authorising him to cross all red signals.

However, the Railway Board did not give out the speed the goods train was travelling at on the section.

The loco pilot of the Kanchanjunga Express adhered to the norms to be followed during a defect in the automatic signalling system, stopped at all red signals for one minute and proceeded at 10 kmph, but the goods train's driver "disregarded" the norms and hit the stationary passenger train from behind, the board said.

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Mhe Indian Railway Loco Runningmen Organisation (IRLRO) questioned the railways' statement that the driver violated the red signal.

The organisation's working president Sanjay Pandhi said, "It is incorrect on the Railway Board's part to say that the driver has to stop the train at a red signal for one minute and proceed with restricted speed after getting TA 912.

"Once a driver gets TA 912, he can proceed with whatever speed because the authority letter suggests that the line in the section is clear. The document said that the loco pilot of the goods train was authorised to cross red signals because they were defective. The authority letter doesn't mention any speed restriction," Pandhi added.

What happened to Kanchanjunga Express in West Bengal?

Meanwhile,  between Ranipatra Railway Station and Chattar Hat Junction in West Bengal, a goods train rammed into the back of the Kanchanjunga Express, killing at least nine including Railway staff. The loco pilot and his assistant were among the casualties of the tragedy.

"The accident will be thoroughly investigated by the Commissioner of Railway Safety," Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told reporters at the accident site in Rangapani near New Jalpaiguri station in Siliguri.

- With PTI inputs

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