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Local derailed near Titwala: Gap between tracks, loose clips may have caused accident

Preliminary examinations revealed that the gap between two rails of the track was less than the prescribed norm; clips holding sleepers and tracks together may also have been loose, said officials

Two days after a Kasara-CST local train derailed near Titwala, killing one and injuring 12, railway authorities believe the accident may have been caused due to minor differences in gaps between the two parallel rails of the track.

Initial inquiries have revealed that the gap between the two rails of the track was up to 9 mm less than the prescribed gap. Pic/Prashant Waydande
Initial inquiries have revealed that the gap between the two rails of the track was up to 9 mm less than the prescribed gap. Pic/Prashant Waydande

Officials from Central Railway (CR) are looking at the possible problems with the alignment of tracks as well, apart from issues with the train itself. Sources said that the ideal distance between two parallel rails of a track is 1,676 mm, but at the spot, it was 1,667 mm and 1,672 mm.

With trains running at approved speeds of up to 100 kmph on this stretch, it is possible that problems on the tracks could have been aggravated when this train passed. However, certain officials think otherwise. “These are minor aberrations and don’t actually result in derailments,” said a CR official.

Authorities are also looking into the theory that metal clips that hold together the rails and sleepers may have been loose. They explained that normally due to derailment, the clips fly off. But, there are chances that the clips could have been loose before the train came there, due to which the rails might have marginally shifted.

“Other trains passed over it safely, so it’s not right to blame the tracks solely for this derailment,” said another CR official. Maintenance of local trains is also an issue that officials will look into. The train that derailed was a DC-AC train that was introduced only few years back. “These are only theories and a proper enquiry will be conducted into the incident,” said a senior CR official.

The incident
At 2.50 pm on Thursday a Kasara-CST train (N-18) derailed between Ambivali and Titwala stations. Five of its coaches toppled over to the side, killing one, Dhaval Lodaya, and injuring 12. The tracks were partly buried into the ballast and stones, and went out of shape as a result. The train was finally cleared at 5.30 am yesterday, yet services were running slow.

1,667 mm & 1,672 mm
Gap between two rails around the spot where the train derailed

1,676 mm
Ideal distance between the two rails of the track

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