Bhubaneswar: Restoration of the railway tracks in Odisha where the worst train crash that India witnessed in decades occurred on June 2 has been completed, 51 hours after the tragedy unfolded. Videos showed the first train movement in the section as Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw prayed on the sidelines.
“Everyone has done a great job. I feel great sadness for the affected families but we will get to the root cause of the incident and whoever is responsible will be severely punished,” the Railways Minister said talking to the media.
Vaishnaw said the construction work on damaged tracks started soon after PM Modi sent out instructions for the restoration of ways. He said that the whole team laboured diligently to fix the damaged rails for the resumption of train services and both lines were tested before services resumed.
“Services on both tracks have been restored. Normal train services on both lines were restored 51 hours after the accident,” the minister said.
Earlier on Sunday, the Railways ministry sought a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the three-train pile-up in Odisha’s Balasore district. At least 275 people have died in Friday’s accident, which is being described as one of the worst in the country.
“Keeping in mind all that happened, the information that the administration has, the Railways Board has made a recommendation that the investigation be handed over to the CBI,” the Railways Minister told reporters.
While Vaishnaw did not say whether the CBI probe would mean an end of investigations by the CRS, officers indicated that any finding by the railway inquiry would be shared with the CBI to facilitate a quicker investigation. The CBI would investigate whether the accident was the result of sabotage, signal error, or human lapses.
The Railways said due to a “signalling interference”, the Coromandel Express met with an accident and its engine and coach crashed into a goods train laden with iron ore stationed on one of the loop lines.
It may be recalled that on Friday evening the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express colluded with a stationary goods train after entering a loop line, diverting from the main line for which a green signal was available. The train at that time was running at a speed of 128 km/hr.
This collision resulted in carriages derailing and ending up on an adjoining track. The Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express coming from the opposite direction and moving at a speed of 126 km/hr then rammed into the coaches and was also derailed.
After the goods train moved to the loop line, the switch blades are supposed to move the track back, to let any new train approaching the station continue the main track itself. When the signal is green, a locking system ensures that the track has moved back to its original position.