Incident occurred at Hosadurga in Karnataka but tragedy was averted thanks to alert driver
An passenger who was on the Coromandel Express is taken to Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital from Chennai on June 4. Pic/PTI
An error similar to that which happened in the case of the Odisha train disaster occurred in February 2023, prompting a senior railway official to raise concerns about the failure of the interlocking system. The official, Hari Shankar Verma, principal chief operations manager, South Western Railway, also highlighted the need for safety measures to be taken in a four-page letter, a copy of which is with mid-day.
Terming the incident, which happened at Hosadurga in Karnataka with the Sampark Kranti Express on February 8, 2023, serious and unusual, Verma said that the point was set to the down main line (wrong line), when the train was supposed to pass through the up main line. It was the train driver in this case who was alert and stopped the train in time, averting a major disaster.
The accident involving the Coromandel Express on Saturday also faced a similar situation as the signal was set for the mainline but the train entered the loop line, which led to the mishap. The driver had no response time since the train was travelling at a speed of 128 kmph. The letter gives a detailed timeline of how everything unfolded and states that the Sampark Kranti incident indicates that there are serious flaws in the system where the route of dispatch gets altered after a train starts on signals with the correct appearance of the route in the signal maintainer’s panel. He said that action may be initiated, and corrective steps must be taken.
The letter was also shared by the Congress during its press briefing on the Coromandel Express accident and leaders asked why the Railways had ignored it in the first place.
Rail Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has stated that an interlocking failure was the cause of the Odisha train crash.