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Soil erosion led to derailment: Initial probe

Soil erosion below the railway tracks led to the derailment of the Guwahati-Bangalore Express and the subsequent collision with the Azimgunj Fast Passenger in Malda district.

Written by VijaitaSingh | New Delhi | August 2, 2011 1:23:52 am

Soil erosion below the railway tracks led to the derailment of the Guwahati-Bangalore Express and the subsequent collision with the Azimgunj Fast Passenger in Malda district of West Bengal on Sunday evening,a preliminary inquiry has revealed.

Railway officials probing the collision said a major tragedy was averted as the driver pressed the emergency brakes on time and only the engine and four coaches were derailed.

Two persons were killed and several injured when the Guwahati-Bangalore Express derailed and the Azimgunj Fast Passenger coming from the opposite side banged into it between Jamirghata and Gourghata stations in Malda district of West Bengal on Sunday evening.

Railway officials said there was a difference of only 5-7 minutes between the derailment of the Express train and its collision with the passenger train.

“Another train had crossed the area barely 25 minutes before the mishap took place. There was no fluttering nor did the driver experience any problem,else an alert could have been sounded for the Guwahati-Bangalore Express,” said a senior railway official.

Officials said maintenance of tracks was an integral part of the railways’ safety plan and an inquiry had been ordered into the lapse.

“If there was erosion of soil beneath the tracks then it was for the safety supervisors to check it. That area does not have a history of any kind of soil erosion and a train had passed on the same track half an hour ago. We are waiting for the report to check who was the person responsible for its maintenance. As the soil eroded,the railway tracks sank,causing the derailment,” said the official.

Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi said they were working on a plan to set up a “safety board” on the lines of the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA).

He said that those responsible for the mishap would be taken to task and severe action would be taken against the errant staff.

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