Train accident: Signal was given and taken off: Inquiry report
Investigators were on Saturday looking into any human error, signal failure and other possible causes behind the three-train crash in Odisha’s Balasore district as officials submitted a preliminary inquiry report into one of the worst accidents that left at least 288 people dead and over 800 injured.
The crash involving Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, which were carrying around 2,000 passengers, and a goods train occurred around 7 pm on Friday near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar.
Seventeen coaches were derailed and severely damaged in the accident, trapping hundreds of passengers. Both passenger trains were at a high speed and experts have cited it as one of the main reasons for the high number of casualty.
Preliminary investigations have revealed that a signal was given to Coromandel Express to enter the main line, but it was taken off and the train entered the loop line, where it crashed into a goods train parked there. The Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express which was coming at high speed crashed into the coaches of Coromandel Express that had scattered on the adjacent track.
The national transporter has initiated a high-level probe into the train that will be headed by the commissioner of railway safety, South Eastern Circle, officials said.
While sources had earlier said a signalling failure could be the reason behind the crash, railway officials said it is not yet clear if Coromandel Express entered the loop line and hit the stationary goods train or it first derailed and then hit the parked train after entering the loop line.
The preliminary probe report, a copy of which is with PTI, said the signal “was given and taken off for the up main line for train number 12841 but the train entered the up loop line and dashed with the goods train which was on the loopline and derailed”.
(With PTI inputs)