Bhubaneswar, TNI Bureau: In the aftermath of a catastrophic triple-train collision that tragically claimed the lives of approximately 275 individuals, the Railway Board has shed light on the sequence of events leading to the incident at the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore. However, the board has not yet ruled out the angle of a possible sabotage, Union Rail Minister Ashwini Vaishnav has recommended the CBI to probe into the matter.
While addressing the media, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said that the case merits a CBI probe and the Railway Board has recommended for it.
“Rescue was completed and restoration work is underway. Work related to track is done and overhead wiring work is going on. Patients are being treated at hospitals,” he added.
The “root cause” of the accident and the “criminals” responsible for it have been identified, Vaishnaw said.
In addition, Odisha Chief Secretary Pradeep Kumar Jena has given fresh clarification on the numbers of deaths, the final death toll count has been pegged at 275. Out of these, 107 dead bodies have been identified so far.
Sabotage Angle not ruled out !
Jaya Varma Sinha, a member of Operation and Business Development at the Railway Board, shared crucial details regarding the accident.
The Bahanaga Bazar station consists of four railway lines, with two being straight main lines where trains do not typically make stops. The remaining two lines are loop lines, specifically designed for train stoppages. Sinha explained, “If we have to stop a train, we stop them on loop lines.” Unfortunately, on the day of the incident, two mail express trains were simultaneously traversing the station from opposite directions.
The Railway Board clarified the circumstances surrounding the collision as follows:
In a recent incident at the station, a collision occurred between the Coromandel Express and a goods train on the loop line. The station layout consists of two main lines at the center, flanked by loop lines on either side.
During the accident, two trains were halted to allow the passage of two express trains, which were not scheduled to stop. Meanwhile, on the loop lines, two goods trains were waiting. The main lines were cleared for the Coromandel Express and the Bengaluru-Howrah express train, with all necessary preparations in place and a green signal displayed. The green signal indicated that the route ahead was clear, allowing the train to proceed at its maximum speed.
The Coromandel Express had a permissible speed of 130 km/hr at that location and was traveling at 128 km/hr when the collision occurred. On the other hand, the Bengaluru-Howrah express train was operating within the prescribed speed limit of 126 km/hr.
Officials have stressed that there was no overspeeding involved, and the green signal was indeed displayed. While initial reports suggest a signaling fault, no definitive statements have been made until the investigation is complete. It is important to note that only the Coromandel Express was involved in the accident, colliding with the goods train on the loop line. The impact was significant due to the Coromandel Express operating at its maximum speed, and the force of the collision was mainly absorbed by the goods train, laden with iron ore.
The Coromandel Express was comprised of Linke Hofmann Busch (LHB) coaches, which are known for their enhanced safety features and resistance to overturning. However, in this case, the entire impact was borne by the Coromandel Express, rendering any safety technology ineffective in preventing such an incident.
As a result of the collision, some coaches of the Coromandel Express derailed and veered onto the adjacent mainline, colliding with the rear coaches of the passing Yesvantpur-Howrah train, causing damage to both trains.