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Maharashtra train derailment: When will Central Railway wake up?

Engine and 4 coaches of Diva-Sawantwadi train derail between Roha and Nagothane, barely 100km from Mumbai, adding to Central Railway’s recent dismal safety record

Yesterday’s derailment of the engine and four coaches of the Diva-Sawantwadi Passenger express train, which left at least 21 dead and more than 120 injured, has once again brought the Central Railway’s recent poor safety record into sharp focus.

The derailment took place between Roha and Nagothane, around 100 km from Mumbai, at 9.25 am, with nearly half the train still inside a tunnel. Pic/AFP
The derailment took place between Roha and Nagothane, around 100 km from Mumbai, at 9.25 am, with nearly half the train still inside a tunnel. Pic/AFP

The derailment took place between Roha and Nagothane, around 100 km from Mumbai, at 9.25 am, with nearly half the train still inside a tunnel. Sources claimed there is a minor curve soon after the tunnel and that there may have been some issues with the tracks. 150 metres of the track was also uprooted in the incident.

Rescuers take away a  body pulled out from the site of the derailment. Pic/Deepak SalviRescuers take away a  body pulled out from the site of the derailment. Pic/Deepak Salvi

Delayed rescue
Speaking to mid-day, some CR officials confirmed that rescue officials reached the spot only at 11.15 am, nearly two hours after the incident took place. Even by early evening, CR officials had managed to remove only some of the debris of the Konkan Railway train due to constraints brought about by the terrain.

While the stretch in question comes under the Central Railway, it leads to the Konkan Railway route, where there is only one line. The derailment of the train has led to many passenger trains being cancelled, short terminated or diverted both on the Konkan and Central railways.

“The railways has announced ex-gratia of R2lakh for the next of kin of those who have died in the accident,” said N Patil, chief PRO, CR. Compensation of R50,000 has also been announced for those with severe injuries and Rs 10,000 for those with minor ones.

Next steps
With the maintenance of the tracks being called into question, officials will measure the tracks and carry out other checks as part of an inquiry. A high-level inquiry by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) is also underway.

Recent incidents

May 3, 2014: Goods train got uncoupled near Titwala

April 30, 2014: Fires broke out in the coaches of three different trains, including the Deccan Express, in a span of one hour while they were standing at CST. 

April 18, 2014: Two coaches, including the engine of the 11068 Faizabad-Lokmanya Tilak Terminus Saket Express derailed near Asangaon, throwing train services out of gear 

March 20, 2014: A teenager died and at least 20 people were injured after a CST-bound train from Kasara derailed near Titwala

February 17, 2014: Five bogies full of commuters got decoupled from a 12-car local train on its way to Kalyan

Trial impact?
Some CR authorities told mid-day that the recent trials of the new Bombardier rakes for the Mumbai suburban network between 2 am and 4 am are putting pressure on tracks. They claimed that these trials are being done at 3-4 day intervals beyond the Kalyan-Karjat/Kasara stretch at a time when maintenance activities should be carried out.

Rs 2 lakh
The compensation announced for the next of kin of those who have died in the accident

Helplines
Thane: 022-25334840 and Panvel: 022-27468. The helpline numbers on which passengers can contact Konkan Railway are 02352-228176/ 228951/228954 and 022-27561721/3/4.

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