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CRS report on Balasore train tragedy indicates faults at various levels

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The Railways has decided not to go public with the report to ensure that there is no influence or interference on the CBI probe into the accident.

The Commissioner of Railways Safety (CRS) probing the Balasore train accident submitted its report on Thursday in which it pointed out faults from the signalling and telecommunication department (S&T), a railway official said.

“The report was submitted and has found lapses on the part of a few departments along with some staff in charge of the relay room,” the official said. When asked if any other involvement was indicated in the report, the official said, “The sabotage angle, if any, will only be probed by the CBI [Central Bureau of Investigation].”

Apart from a CRS probe, the CBI is also investigating the incident.

The officials, however, clarified that the Railways has decided not to go public with the report to ensure that there is no influence or interference on the CBI probe into the accident.

“We will not be disclosing the CRS report because of another ongoing independent enquiry (of CBI). This is to ensure that this report does not in any way influence or interfere with the other report. We will take cognisance of both the reports and make an overall evaluation of the incident and then take whatever steps necessary,” said another railway official.

Usually, such reports are accessible to top officials so that the recommendations made by the CRS are strictly noted and implemented. Officials said that while the CRS usually files an interim report before the final one, within a week of any accident, this time, it has just submitted one report.

Days before the report was submitted, the railway board had ordered a double-locking arrangement for all its relay rooms with train controlling mechanisms, relay huts (having signalling and telecommunications equipment of level-crossings), and point and track circuit signals.

It had, in a letter, indicated that ‘access to the relay room’ was key to the ‘signalling interference’ that caused the Coromandel Express to take the loop line at Balasore and crash into a stationary goods train.

This was aimed at making the access to the relay room tamper-proof which could be achieved by a double locking system that would not allow access to the rooms.

Officials also said that a disconnection memo (to shut down the interlocking system and start work) and a reconnection memo (reconnection of the system indicating the end of work) was received by the station manager. “However, in reality, the technician bypassed the system because the work was not complete and he rigged the location box to get a ‘green signal’ for the Coromandel Express,” the official concluded.

On June 2, a deadly triple-train accident involving Coromandel Express, Yeshwantpur-Howrah Express and an iron ore-laden goods train took place in the Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Odisha’s Balasore district, resulting in the death of at least 290 and injuring over 1,200 passengers.

source by : hindustan times

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