NEW DELHI (Reuters) – Investigators are investigating an electronic route management system they suspect malfunctioned and caused India’s deadliest train accident in more than two decades, railway officials said on Sunday.
At least 275 people were killed on Friday when a passenger train collided with a stationary freight train, derailed and collided with another passenger train traveling in the opposite direction in the eastern state of Odisha.
In the first detailed briefing on the accident, Indian Railways officials said failure of the track management system was the main focus of investigations.
Sandeep Mathur, chief executive officer of signals, told reporters that the computer-controlled track management system, called an “entanglement system,” directs the train to an empty track at the point where the two tracks meet.
He also said he coordinates and controls the signal to an oncoming train, indicating whether the train should move straight or turn into a new track.
Even if it fails, the signal will turn red and the train will stop,” said Jaya Varma Sinha, a railway board member who runs the giant state monopoly.
“However, as suspected, there was some kind of problem in the system.”
Explaining the sequence of events that led to the crash at Pahanaga station in Balasore district, Sinha said the Coromandel express bound for Chennai from Kolkata deviated from the main track, entered a loop track – a side track used to stop trains – at a speed of 128 kilometers per hour (80 mph). o’clock) and collided with a freight train carrying iron ore that was parked on the loop track.
It explained that the accident caused the engine and the first four or five coaches of the Coromandel Express to jump the tracks, overthrowing the last two coaches of the Yeshwantpur-Howrah train heading in the opposite direction on the second main track.
Sinha said the interlocking system should not allow the Coromandel Express to go down the loop.
She said she spoke to the injured driver of that train and he told her it was within the speed limit and did not jump a signal and all of this would be verified by systems that record track and train details, she said.
You did not mention the driver’s name.
Sinha said there are many “possibilities of what could go wrong”.
This can include someone digging in the area through which the electronic system cables pass and damaging them in the process, a short circuit, or equipment failure.
“99.9% there is no possibility that the device will fail but there is a 0.1% chance of failure,” she said. “This possibility is always present in all kinds of systems.”
It did not name the supplier, the manufacturer, or the age of the system. But he said it is in use across almost the entire Indian railway network.
(Reporting by YP Rajesh Editing) By Francis Kerry
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