Speeding driver was responsible for train mishap

Railway officials claim that the driver of the EMU train ignored the signal restrictions and caused the collision that left 10 dead and over 86 injured

Driver error has been found to be the cause of a train accident near Chennai that left 10 people dead and disrupted rail services in Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, officials said yesterday.

Costly error: Five coaches of the stationary passenger train
were derailed in the collision. PIC/AFP

Ten people were killed and 86 injured when the Chennai Beach-Vellore suburban train hit the stationary Arakkonam-Katpadi passenger train. Five coaches of the stationary train and three of the suburban train went off the rails resulting in death and severe injuries to passengers.

The driver of the suburban trainĀ -- Chennai Beach-Vellore Cantonment mainline electrical multiple unit (MEMU) -- was travelling at high speed, and had jumped two signals, according to preliminary reports. The driver jumped from the engine just before the train rammed into the stationary passenger train.

Services disrupted
Train services to Chennai from Bangalore, Mysore and Hubli in Karnataka were hit. Some trains were cancelled and rescheduled, the South Western Railway said.

On Tuesday, the absence of light coupled with heavy rains hindered the relief work. Traffic movement on the line was restored yesterday.

"Both the lines on that route have been restored and movement of trains has started. All trains will be operated from this evening onwards like a normal day," said M Boopathy, senior public relations officer at Southern Railway.

The Railway has ordered a probe into the accident. Union Railways Minister Dinesh Trivedi, accompanied by Minister of State for Railways K H Muniyappa and senior Railway Board officials, visited the accident spot in a special train after meeting the injured admitted to the Government General Hospital in Chennai.

M Bhoopathy, public relations officer of Southern Railway, said that normal services were expected to resume by 2 pm. According to railway officials, the driver of the EMU train seems to have ignored the speed and signal restrictions.

Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi who left for the accident site announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the dead, Rs 1 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs 25,000 for the others.

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