Train accident in Balasore India

Signal failure likely cause of major rail crash in India

Minister promises thorough investigation. 2023, ANP / EPA/ PIYAL ADHIKAR

The train crash that killed at least 275 people in India on Friday was likely caused by signal failure, Indian authorities have said. The accident, which involved the Coromandel Express heading to Chennai from Kolkata, is the deadliest in India in more than two decades.

According to preliminary investigations, a signal failure led the Coromandel Express onto a loop track used to park trains. “It is about point machine, electronic interlocking. The change that occurred during electronic interlocking, the accident happened due to that. Whoever did it and how it happened will be found out after proper investigation”, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw told local media.

Once on the loop the passenger train soon crashed into a stationary freight train whilst travelling at a speed up 128 kilometres per hour. The freight train was reportedly loaded with iron ore. This meant that it was so heavy that a number coaches of the passender train were upended upon impact. In ensuing mayhem, those coaches hit another passenger train in the opposite direction on the other main track. That train was reportedly travelling at great speed too: 126 kilometres per hour.

The three-way crash resulted in close to 1,200 injuries. The death toll was initially reported as 288 but was later revised down to 275. Vaishnaw hopes to wrap up the recovery and repair operation on Wednesday.

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Author: Nick Augusteijn

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