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While a statutory inquiry into the December 21,2008 derailment of Kalka-Shimla Holiday Special Express tentatively concluded that the accident was caused due to failure on part of the railway staff,sources in the railways revealed on Monday that over-speeding was the actual reason behind the mishap.
The prima-facie cause of the derailment was not immediately known. However,investigations now suggest that over-speeding led to the accident, a senior Northern Railway official confirmed to The Indian Express. The maximum permissible speed limit on this 96.6 kilometre long narrow gauge railway line is 25 km per hour. The loco-pilot,on the day of the accident,had allegedly crossed that limit.
Having held a statutory inquiry,the Commissioner of Railway Safety,Northern Circle,has cited failure of railway staff as the cause behind the accident. The commissioner has now sent his preliminary report for consideration to the Central Government.
The engine and three coaches of the 253 Up Kalka-Shimla Holiday Special Express got derailed on December 21,2008 between Sonwara and Dharampur on the Kalka-Shimla section,killing one person and injuring four others.
While there were theories about a boulder having hit the train causing it to derail,eyewitness accounts from passengers had suggested that over-speeding had caused the accident.
In his recommendations,the Commissioner of Railway Safety has said that all the loco pilots,assistant loco pilots and guards should be intensively checked and monitored for their alertness and regular drives should be launched by the Northern Railways administration.
The 105-year-old Kalka Shimla Railway (KSR),an engineering marvel regarded as an outstanding example of a hill passenger railway,was accorded the status of a world heritage site by UNESCOs World Heritage Committee (WHC) during its meeting at Quebec City in Canada on July 7,2008.