The Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Mangala Lakshadweep Express derailed between Ghoti and Igatpuri yesterday, killing three and injuring others. Although a high-level committee has been set up to know the reason behind the derailment, prima facie, it is said to have been caused by a crack in the tracks, known as ‘rail fracture’ in railway terms. “It is quite possible that a rail fracture could be the reason, although it will be ascertained only after a detailed inquiry,” said a senior CR official.
Officials added that it was not necessary that the tracks had lived beyond their life but it was quite possible that the fracture could have occurred due to several other factors, like variations in temperature, defect in material used, or a flaw in the metal itself. “An inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety has been ordered,” said a CR spokesperson.
Sources also added that the stretch at Kms 145/15 at Ghoti near Igatpuri Station was notorious. “The tracks needed repairs,” said another official. 13 coaches (S-7, S-8, S-9, S-10, S-11, Pantry Car, B-1, B-2, B-3, A-1, A-2, GS1, SLR) and the engine derailed in the incident. As per the latest figures, three passengers Satya Bir Singh (40), Raju Kushwaha (34) and an unidentified person died, while 26 people were injured. While 11 were hospitalised, the remaining were discharged after treatment.
The CR authorities transported over 450 passengers from the accident site to Igatpuri station. These people were then sent in a special train arranged from Lokmanya Tilak Terminus to Ernakulam by noon. A sum of Rs 25,000 was given to the grievously injured and Rs 5,000 for those who received minor injuries as an ex-gratia amount.