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Defective Signal Reported Since Morning On Bengal Rail Route: Report

An automatic signaling system failure led to a collision between a goods train and the Sealdah Kanchanjunga Express near Ranipatra Railway Station, highlighting procedural lapses and fatalities under investigation.

Edited By : Swechchha | Updated: Jun 17, 2024 15:56 IST
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Kanchanjunga Express Accident
Kanchanjunga Express Accident

According to a railway source, the automatic signaling system between Ranipatra Railway Station and Chattar Hat Junction in West Bengal malfunctioned at 5:50 AM, leading to a goods train colliding with the Sealdah Kanchanjunga Express from behind.

According to reports, Train No. 13174 (Sealdah Kanchanjungha Express) left Rangapani station at 8:27 AM but came to a halt between Ranipatra railway station and Chattar Hat due to a malfunction in the automatic signaling system at 5:50 AM.

Another railway official stated that in cases of automatic signalling system failure, the station master issues a written authority known as TA 912. This document grants the train driver permission to proceed through all red signals on the affected section due to the system defect.

According to the source, the station master at Ranipatra issued TA 912 to Train No. 13174 (Sealdah Kanchanjungha Express).

He further mentioned, “At approximately the same time, a goods train with the code GFCJ left Rangapani at 8:42 AM and collided with Train No. 13174 from behind, causing the derailment of the guard’s coach, two parcel coaches, and a general seating coach.”

Also Read: Goods Train That Hit Kanchanjunga Express Had Overshot Signal: Officials

In its initial statement, the Railway Board attributed the incident to the goods train driver disregarding the signal, leading to a confirmed death toll of five. However, local officials suggested the fatalities could be as high as 15.

Sources indicated that an investigation is necessary to determine whether the goods train was also authorized with TA 912 to proceed through defective signals at speed, or if it was the locomotive pilot who violated the protocol for defective signals.

If it was indeed the locomotive pilot who violated the protocol, the procedure requires the driver to halt the train for one minute at each defective signal and then proceed at a speed of 10 kmph.

The family of the locomotive pilot has raised doubts about the Railways’ assertion that the driver disregarded the red signal.

Sanjay Pandhi, the working president of the Indian Railway Loco Runningmen Organisation (IRLRO), criticized the announcement of the deceased locomotive pilot’s responsibility while a CRS inquiry is still pending, calling it highly objectionable.

According to Railway Board Chairperson Jaya Varma Sinha, the collision occurred because a goods train ignored the signal and collided with the Kanchanjunga Express on route from Agartala to Sealdah.

Also Read: Kanchanjunga Express Accident: Ashwini Vaishnaw Announces Rs 10 Lakh Ex-Gratia For Families Of Deceased

First published on: Jun 17, 2024 03:56 PM IST

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