Tuesday, July 16, 2024
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Goods train rams into K’junga Express, 9 killed, 41 injured

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Goods train driver violated speed restriction norms: Railway Board

Locals gather after a goods train collided with the Agartala-Sealdah Kanchanjungha Express, near New Jalpaiguri railway station, on Monday. At least nine people
were killed and 41 injured in the accident. (PTI)

New Delhi, June 17: Prima facie findings into the Kanchanjunga Express accident in West Bengal show that the goods train violated speed restrictions it had to follow given the “defective” automatic signalling system on the section and rammed into the stationary passenger train while “over-speeding”, the Railway Board said on Monday.
Seven passengers and two railway staffers were killed and 41 injured in the accident that occurred on the Ranipatra Railway Station (RNI)-Chattar Hat Junction (CAT) stretch in the state’s Darjeeling district in the morning.
The board said though the driver of the goods train was given authorisation to cross all red signals between RNI and CAT as the automatic signalling system was “defective”, 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 driver 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.
Explaining the norms, an official of the board said, “The TA 912 was issued to the (goods train) driver and, according to norms, when encountering an automatic signal at “ON” aspect (red signal) and after waiting for the prescribed time, the driver should have proceeded with great caution at a speed not exceeding 15 kmph where visibility is good, and not exceeding 10 kmph where visibility is not good until the next stop signal.”
“He has to stop the train for one minute during the day time and two minutes at night at a red signal, and then start moving following the restricted speed norms,” the official said. The authority letter, TA 912, said, “Automatic signalling has failed and you are hereby authorized to pass all automatic signals between RNI and CAT.” It also mentions that there are nine signals between RNI and CAT and authorises the goods train driver to cross all, ignoring whether they are showing red or caution (yellow or double yellow). (PTI)

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