NEW DELHI, June 3: A preliminary investigation by a team of railway officials has revealed that signal was given and then taken off for Coromandel Express which entered the Loop Line and collided with the goods train on Friday evening near Balasore in Odisha causing a horrific accident involving three trains killing at least 261 people and injuring over 900.
According to railway sources, preliminary investigation by a team of railway officials revealed that the signal for Train No 12841 Shalimar-Dr MGR Chennai Central Coromandel Express was given for passing through the Up Main Line and then taken off. The reason why the signal was given and taken off was not made clear in the report
However, the Superfast Express train entered into the adjacent loop line and collided with the goods train and derailed. “In the meantime Train No 12864 (Yashwantpur-Howrah Express) passed through the Down Main Line and two coaches of it derailed and overturned,” the preliminary investigation report said.
The team found that 21 coaches of the Coromandel Express which entered the Loop Line derailed and some overturned. The Guard Brake Van and H-1 (First AC) coach were found on the Up Main Line. The Locomotive (engine) of the train was found mounted on the goods train.
A senior railway official said going by the mandatory provisions, a detailed investigation into the major accident would be done by the Commissioner of Railway Safety who comes under the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
As per the railway records it was the fourth biggest railway tragedy in the country’s history. The biggest one was of Samastipur – Banmankhi train in which 800 people lost their lives when seven rear coaches of the train were blown off the track and fell into a river due to a cyclone on June 6, 1981.
The second biggest railway tragedy was of Purushottam Express which crashed into the stationary Kalindi Express near Firozabad in Uttar Pradesh on August 20, 1995, killing 305 people, followed by loss of 285 lives when Brahmaputra Mail crashed into the stationary Avadh Assam Express at Gaisal station on August 2, 1999.
Some other major train accidents included Jammu Tawi – Sealdah Express which collided with three derailed coaches of Frontier Golden Temple Mail in Punjab’s Khanna on November 26, 1998 killing 212 passengers, 14 coaches of Indore – Rajendra Nagar Express derailed at Pukhrayan, approximately 60 km from Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, killing 152 people in November, 2016, Mumbai-bound Jnaneswari Express derailed near Jhargram in West Bengal and hit by an incoming goods train killing 148 people on May 28, 2010, Howrah Rajdhani Express causing deaths of 140 people when it derailed over a bridge on the Dhave river in Bihar’s Rafiganj, blamed on terrorist sabotage, on September 9, 2002, and loss of 126 people when Pamban – Dhanuskodi train was washed away by the Rameswaram cyclone on December 23, 1964.