Deadly Train Disaster in India Probably Due to Incorrect Signalling


An error in the electronic signals may have caused Friday’s fatal train accident in India. India’s Railway Minister said on Sunday. Meanwhile, the death toll from the disaster was revised down slightly.


The accident happened on Friday evening around 7 p.m. near Balasore in Odisha, about 200 kilometres from Bhubaneswar. Two passenger trains and a freight train were involved.

A number of coaches of a passenger train, the Coromandel Express, derailed after colliding with a freight train. The carriages would have ended up on a different track. Another train would then have collided with those carriages and was partly derailed.

On Saturday, at least 288 people were reported dead and more than 900 injured, but the death toll has been revised slightly. According to Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, there are currently 275 confirmed deaths and some victims were double-counted before Saturday’s figures. However, Vaishnaw added that bodies are still being recovered and that the final death toll will undoubtedly exceed 275.

The preliminary investigation would show that the accident was due to an error in the electronic signalling. One of the trains was supposed to have been signalled to run on the main track, but that signal was later removed, causing the train to run onto the loop line and collide with a parked freight train there. “Who did it and the reason behind it will have to be revealed by further investigation,” said the minister.

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