On a day of derailments, Piyush Goyal chairs high-level meeting on safety

Railway officials at the site where the engine of the Delhi-Ranchi Rajdhani Express train derailed near Minto Bridge in New Delhi on Thursday. Photo: PTI
After a series of derailments, Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal on Thursday admitted that the accidents were due to 'defects' in the tracks. According to top priority to safety, the newly-inducted minister ordered procurement of new rails on a fast track basis besides the elimination of unmanned level crossings in a year’s time.

Goyal on Thursday chaired a high-level meeting on Safety in Train Operations with Railway Board officials where he directed his staff to undertake immediate measures to address the problem of Unmanned Level Crossings and Derailments. A detailed presentation on Safety was made at the meeting.

Seven coaches of Jabalpur-bound Shaktipunj Express jumped the rails near the Obra Dam station in Sonbhadra district in Uttar Pradesh at around 6:25 am on Thursday, while the engine and power car of the Ranchi-Delhi Rajdhani Express derailed near Minto Bridge in Delhi at around 11:45 am. One person was injured in the second accident. Two wagons of a goods train derailed in Maharashtra, third accident in a day.

Two major causes leading to accidents were identified as unmanned level crossings and defects in tracks, an official statement reported.

Goyal instructed the Railway Board officials to ensure Safety in train operations and eliminate all unmanned level crossings expeditiously on the entire Indian Railway network in a year’s time from now. He also asserted that replacement of tracks should be accorded with priority.

The tracks earmarked for constructing new lines should be diverted to places or stretches which are prone to accidents and where replacement is due, the official statement said adding that the procurement of new rails should be expedited on a large scale with a view to complete construction of new lines in time.

The Jabalpur-bound Shaktipunj Express that jumped the track near the Obra Dam station in Sonbhadra district (Photo: PTI)
The other measures that are being taken by the India Railways to prevent derailment of trains are refurbishment of Integral Coach Factory (ICF) design coaches and progressive use of air springs.

A policy decision has been taken to carry out the work of refurbishment and providing improved safety features in its existing ICF design coaches which have a residual life of more than 10 years. A total of about 40,000 coaches will be provided with these features in the next 5 years.

To maintain constant height at variable load, air spring is being used in the secondary suspension of EMU/DMU coaches. These springs shall also be introduced in mainline and passenger coaches to enhance safety and reliability.

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