A preliminary probe by the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) into the accident at Ghatkopar Railway station on November 16 last year, which claimed the life of Arjun Ishwar Shine (27), revealed that the accident occurred due to “failure of equipment”, pointing towards the callousness of the Railways.
Dombivali resident Shinde and Kalyan resident Rajan Nair (40) were injured after a steel plate broke off from one of the coaches in Maharaja Express and hit the duo, who were standing on platform 3. Shinde succumbed to his head injuries later in Sion hospital. Following this, an inquiry was announced.
The CRS report was sent to Central Railway and the Railway Board recently.
The steel plate covering the braking equipment in the underframe of the train broke off after hitting an earthing plate jutting out from the edge of the platform before hitting the duo. During the probe, it was found that the distance of the platform edge from the centre of the track, also called coping in railway parlance, was found to be 10 mm less than the necessary clearance required for the safe passage in Maharaja Express. As per the Schedule of Dimensions (SOD), the distance of the platform edge from the centre of the track should be between 1670 mm and 1680 mm. The 4 mm-wide earthing plate or structure bond was found infringing the 1660 mm distance of platform 3 from the centre of the track.
“The reduced gap was found to be insufficient for safe clearance of the special coaches of Maharaja Express, the footboard of which can vibrate up to 110 mm in the running train.” said a railway officer, requesting anonymity. “The tracks often shift during regular maintenance work. However, care needs to be taken that the distance required for clearance of train is maintained,” said the officer.
The report recommends the railways to maintain the necessary distance of the platform from the centre of the track and also remove the earthing equipment and undertake modifications necessary to accommodate the equipment. A CRS sanction of the special coaches of Maharaja Express, which was not obtained earlier, has also been recommended.
When asked about the report, Mukesh Nigam, Divisional Railway Manager, CR, refused to comment saying the report is yet to be tabled before him.