In railways, any failure of signal or system leads to a fail-safe mechanism for public safety, which means all signals around any failure turn red and all trains come to a halt where they are
Was the fail-safe signalling mechanism around Bahanaga Bazar station where the deadly accident occurred over-ridden manually and tweaked during work at the level crossing gate near the station to avoid the detention and delay of speeding Coromandel Express?
In railways, any failure of signal or system leads to a fail-safe mechanism for public safety, which means all signals around any failure turn red and all trains come to a halt where they are. Sources said that in case of the deadly Odisha accident, railways are investigating if there was some possibility of someone over-riding the fail-safe mechanism and ‘criminal negligence’ to allow the train to pass.
Indications lead to the fact that some repair work was on at the level crossing gate 94 near Bahanaga Bazar station. Sources said as per information, the level crossing gate boom had a snag, and it was reflecting in the signals by showing red. As Coromandel Express approached, detaining it could mean affecting the train’s punctuality. The technicians at the site may have worked out a stop-gap solution by reportedly over-riding the fail-safe mechanism by looping in circuits at the location box, giving the oncoming Coromandel Express a green signal for line clearance.
The train was expected to speed past the station in just a few seconds and the work on the gate would have continued once it went away. But even though the signals turned green, the track point before the LC gate remained directed to the loop line, causing the deadly mishap, as per the possible theory, which needs to be corroborated. Railway officials, however, refused to comment and said it would not be appropriate to comment as the matter was a part of the investigation by the Commissioner of Railway Safety and the Central Bureau of Investigation.