Indian Railways News

In Utkal Express Accident, Railways Lose One Of Its Own

At least 20 people have been killed and over 200 injured in Saturday’s train tragedy in Uttar Pradesh’ Muzaffarnagar. Among the dead was Alok Sarkar, a 48-year-old railway employee working with  Divisional Railway Manager (DRM) Office in Delhi.

The Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express was always the preferred choice for Mr Sarkar. On Saturday, he had boarded the ill-fated train for Muzaffarnagar – the journey turned out to be his last.

“Never thought, this would be his last journey,” Mr Sarkar’s elder brother told news agency PTI as he struggled to come to terms with the loss that last evening’s derailment has afflicted on the
family.

“He always used to take this train,” he added.

Mr Sarkar body was taken to Delhi for cremation today.

Thirteen coaches of the train went off the tracks around 5:45 pm in Khatauli, about 100 kms from the national capital, New Delhi. One of the coaches crashed into a house by the tracks.

At least 22 people were killed and over 200 injured in the derailment. “We have identified about 12 bodies and their post-mortem have been conducted,” said Saharanpur Divisional Commissioner Deepak Agarwal.

 Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu has ordered an inquiry into the incident. Four people were suspended, three others sent on leave and one official was transferred based on an early probe, a railways spokesperson said on Sunday.

 

Railways In Process Of Using Modern Technology To Plug Accidents: Official

The railway ministry has already initiated measures like inducting modern coaches, creating a safety fund as well as incorporating new technology to not only plug accidents due to derailments, but also to reduce casualties, a senior ministry official said today.

A key step was introduction of sophisticated Linke Hofman Busch (LHB) coaches replacing conventional ones in a phased manner to reduce the chances of derailment and bringing down the possibility of grievous injury or death in case of accidents such as the one that took place in Khatauli yesterday evening, he said.

“These (LHB) coaches have anti-climbing features and provision of superior braking and lesser chances of uncoupling of coaches in case of accidents. Besides, the railways have speeded up the use of modern technology such as ultrasonic system to detect track defects,” the official, who did not want to be identified, said.

While the production target of LHB coaches has been increased from 1,697 in 2016-17 to 2,384 in 2017-18, it is expected to be 3,025 LHB coaches in 2018-19, he said.

According to the railways, under the rolling stock production programme, there will be only 801 conventional coaches manufactured in 2017-18 and, subsequently, no such coaches will be produced.

The train-protection warning system (TPWS) and the train- collision avoidance system (TCAS) are also being used to prevent accidents, the official said.

Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu had launched ‘mission zero accident’ in the 2016-17 Rail Budget for carrying out a special drive to curb accidents.

The Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh, a special safety fund, was created in the 2017-18 budget with a corpus of Rs. 1 lakh crore over a period of five years for financing critical safety-related works.

While the TPWS has been installed on a 342-km route, the TCAS is being tried on a 350-km route, the official said. “It is crucial for safe running of trains to ensure track security. So, track renewal has been undertaken on a priority basis and adequate funds have been allocated for this purpose,” he said.

The fund allocation for track renewal has been almost doubled from the last five years average of Rs. 5,548.6 crore to Rs. 9,961 crore in the Budget Estimate of 2017-18.

In the 2016-17 fiscal, the railways eliminated 1,503 unmanned level crossings and 484 manned level crossings by constructing road over-bridges and under-bridges.

Since unmanned level crossings are responsible for the maximum number of train accidents, the railways intends to eliminate all such crossings on broad gauge sections by 2020.

 

UP Train Tragedy: Action Against Secretary-Rank Official, Seven Others

The railways department has sent on leave its three top officials, including a secretary-level railway board official, suspended four officers and transferred one. The move comes following the death of 20 people in Uttar Pradesh Saturday evening after 14 coaches of Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli.

Member (Engineering) in the railway board, northern railway general manager and divisional regional manager (delhi) have been sent on leave in the wake of the derailment in Muzaffarnagar district of Uttar Pradesh, the railways said.

The railways also suspended four of its officials – senior divisional engineer, assistant engineer, a senior section engineer (permanent way), responsible for track maintenance and a junior engineer.

Chief Track Engineer, northern railway, was transferred as part of the action by the railways.

The derailment in Khatauli last evening resulted in death of 20 people and injuries to over 150 others, 26 of whom are in critical condition.

 

Uttar Pradesh Train Tragedy: Police To Scan Audio Clip On ‘Negligence

An audio clip of a purported conversation between a railway employee and a mediaperson, in which the former claimed yesterday’s tragedy in Khatauli was due to “negligence”, would be looked into by a team probing the derailment, a top railway ministry official said on Sunday.

Member Traffic, Railways, Md Jamshed said the inquiry team probing the derailment, in which 22 passengers were killed, would look into the 15-minute audio clip. The clip has since gone viral.

In the clip, the railway staff apparently posted at a crossing near the accident site in Khatauli in Muzaffarnagar, claimed that “poor patrolling” on the track where maintenance work was underway was one of the reasons behind the tragedy.

“Welding work was underway at a section of the railway track… but the workers did not fix the block of the track and left it loose. Gates near the crossing were closed. A piece (of the track) was not fixed and when the Utkal Express arrived, 14 of its coaches got derailed,” he is heard saying.

“Neither the line, on which the work was under way, was fixed nor had they put any flag or a signboard (as a stop signal). The accident occurred due to negligence. It seems all (employees concerned) will be suspended.”

He also talks about how the workers had left some equipment between the tracks after finishing their work.

“At least, they could have removed the machine and put a red flag there, perhaps the tragedy could have been averted,” the staffer, presumably a gateman, is heard saying.

Commissioner of Railway Safety Shailesh Kumar Pathak is going to begin his probe tomorrow and the clip’s veracity will be probed, officials said.

“We have got the clip from the media and heard it. In the clip, it sounds like a conversation between a railway worker and a mediaperson. In it, the worker is saying that the work was going on the track and it was being done negligently.

We are verifying its authenticity.

“In fact, during the commissioner’s inquiry, the common people will be asked to provide any information that they have on the accident,” Mr Jamshed said in the national capital earlier in the day.

 

4 Railways Officials Suspended After UP Train Accident: 10 Points

Khatauli, Uttar Pradesh: Four railway officials have been suspended over the train accident on Saturday that left over 22 dead and injured over 200 in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district. Three others have been transferred and one has been sent on leave. Thirteen coaches of the Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express ran off the tracks around 5:45 pm in Khatauli, about 100 km from New Delhi. The move came on a day that Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu assured prompt action over the accident that appeared to have been caused due to negligence.

Railways has taken action against eight officials over the accident. While a Senior Divisional Engineer, Assistant Engineer, Senior Section Engineer and a Junior Engineer have been suspended, the Chief Track Engineer of the Northern Railway has been transferred. Member (Engineering) in the Railway Board, Northern Railway General Manager and Divisional Regional Manager (Delhi) have been sent on leave, the Railways said.

Over 22 people have been killed so far, Anand Kumar, a senior police officer in UP told news agency ANI. The officer also ruled out any terror angle in the accident. “Prima facie and on the basis of inquiry done so far by ATS (anti-terror squad), there is no evidence of any terror outfit involved in the accident,” he said.

An audio clip of an unverified telephonic conversation, apparently between two railway employees, that hints at “negligence” as cause of the accident will also be probed, he added.

Sources in the engineering division of the Railways claim that they had warned the Khatauli station authorities of repair work being carried out on the tracks. They also claim that they had asked for movement of trains to not be allowed on the stretch for 20 minutes till the tracks were restored.

“We had no knowledge of technical problems,” Rajinder Singh, Station Superintendent, Khatauli told NDTV yesterday, saying they were unaware of maintenance work being carried out on the tracks.

Locals claim human error may have led to the tragedy. Jagat Ram, one of the residents of the house that was damaged when the train crashed into it, had earlier told NDTV that parts of the rail track in the area were being repaired for two days before the day when the accident happened. Locals suspect that the driver of the Utkal Express was not informed about the repair work.

A first information report (FIR) has been filed for causing death by negligence, mischief, and destruction of railway property.

The train had left Puri in Odisha on Friday evening and was scheduled to arrive in Haridwar in Uttarakhand on Sunday. “It was running at a speed of about 100 kmph when the accident took place,” a top Railways official RN Singh said. Six of the derailed coaches were damaged severely.

Rescuers from the National Disaster Response Force or NDRF and various divisions of the police worked with gas cutters and cranes to find survivors from the badly-mangled coaches. Rescue operations ended in the early hours on Sunday.

The Railways has announced a compensation of Rs. 3.5 lakh for the family of those killed, Rs. 50,000 for those seriously injured and Rs. 25,000 for people with minor injuries. State governments of Odisha and Uttar Pradesh have also announced compensation for the victims.

 

Utkal Express Derailment: Trains On Meerut Line Cancelled Or Diverted Till 6 PM

Trains passing through the Meerut line of the Northern Railway have been either cancelled or diverted till 6 pm today, in the wake of the tragic accident at Khatauli in Uttar Pradesh, a senior railway official said.

The sleepy town of Khatauli, about 100 kms from Delhi, became the epicentre of rescue operations yesterday after 13 bogies of the Puri-Haridwar Kalinga Utkal Express derailed near its station, killing at least 22 people.

“All services on Meerut line, on which the Khatauli falls, have been either cancelled or diverted through other routes till 6 PM, as the tracks are yet to be cleared of mangled train coaches,” DRM of the Delhi Division, R N Singh told PTI.

Delhi Division falls under the Northern Railway Zone, which administers some of the busiest stations in the country.

 “The train had 23 coaches out of which 13 had derailed. It was running at a speed of about 100 kmph when the accident took place,” he said.

Singh said the diverted trains would run through Shamli till the restoration work is over.

The train was coming from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, normally a journey of about 36 hours.

The train suffered huge damage in the accident last evening at Khatauli, around 40 km from Muzaffarnagar, which Singh described as “very grave”.

The derailment had such a massive impact that one of the train’s sleeper coaches climbed onto another, while its other end rammed into a house, shattering its facade, and leaving its occupants terrified.

Two of the sleeper coaches overturned, with one of them hitting the facade of a local college in Muzaffarnagar.

Bodies of two men and as many women were pulled out by the NDRF team, which worked from nearly 9 pm last night till 3 AM, to rescue survivors or extricate bodies with due dignity.

Asked about the allegation made by several locals and some passengers that “maintenance work” was underway when the accident happened, the DRM said, “It was just some routine work. And, the railway minister has already ordered an inquiry. So, let the report come, I cannot say, anything more on that.”

The injured have been taken to hospitals in Muzaffarnagar and Meerut and both the railway and the local administration have issued helplines.

‘Coach Flew Over Another, Rammed House’: Eyewitness Recounts Train Horror

Manoj Baliyan was enjoying the cool evening breeze sitting on the porch of his house on Saturday when he heard a massive thud. The next thing he saw was a blue railway coach flying over another coach and hit his house.

When he gathered his wits all he could see was scores of bodies in front of the house, along the railway track.

When he gathered his wits all he could see was scores of bodies in front of the house, along the railway track.

“A coach had even rammed the boundary wall of a college building near our house,” said Manoj Baliyan, who runs a shop in the area.

The railway accident in Khatauli brought tragedy for not only the passengers of the Utkal Express, but also for locals whose houses lined the tracks.

The accident occurred around 5.45 pm near Khatauli town and left 20 dead and over 90 injured, the Uttar Pradesh Police said.

Khatauli is approximately 40 km from Muzaffarnagar.

Manoj Baliyan, 42 and his family are still shaken as one end of the mangled sleeper coach (S2) of the train, which had rammed his house’s porch, shattering its facade, is leaning precariously on the house.

“There was a massive thud and one of the coaches flew over the pantry car and rammed our house’s porch,” he told PTI.

The other end of the S2 coach is resting over the pantry coach with its doors shattered.

NDRF personnel, pressed into service for search and rescue operations, were seen pulling out bodies from the mangled coach that had rammed the boundary wall of Choudhary Tilak Ram Inter College.

“We pulled out the body of a woman from underneath the coach. We have noticed a limb in the debris and efforts are on to pull out the body,” an NDRF personnel said.

Uttar Pradesh ministers Suresh Rana and Satish Mahana visited the accident site and took stock of the situation.

“The Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister is continuously tracking the update on the accident,” Mr Rana said.

A sense of fear pervaded the site’s atmosphere, while for the passengers of the train and the locals the night has turned into a nightmare.

Thirteen coaches of the Utkal Express jumped the rails, with one of them crashing into a house adjacent to the track.

The train was coming from Puri in Odisha and going to Haridwar in Uttarakhand, normally a journey of about 36 hours.

Pakistan Railways adds 55 US Made Locomotives to its fleet

The Ministry of Railway has announced that the US-made 55 computerised locomotives, with 4,000 horsepower, have become part of fleet of Pakistan Railways locomotives.

Railway Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique congratulated Pakistan Railways CEO Javed Anwar, AGM Mechanical Nasarullah Babar, administration and employees on this occasion and said that these up-to-date engines are earning hands of Pakistan Railways, said a press release issued here on Thursday.

The minister further said that in second phase 20 special engines will be bought for passenger train in Bolan section. They will help in accumulating profit of emerging contemporary Pakistan Railways, he said. This national organisation will serve industrial and business sector in a better way and will play its role in improving the country’s economy, he said.

Saad said that procurement of dynamics brake engines for mountainous areas will be completed in the end of next year. He said that Pakistan Railways very much understands the requirements of locomotives in future and in this concern proper planning has been done.

For fulfilling the requirements of modern engines till 2025, PC-I for procurement of 300 engines has been sent to the Planning Commission. He said that after World War-II, for the first time revolutionary changes have been brought in Pakistan Railways. The foundation for modern railways has been laid down, he added.

Partial Cancellation/Regulation/Divertion/Additional Stoppages of various Trains on SCR jurisdiction announced

Due to line block / power block for construction of subway at Level Crossing at Nayudupeta yard and Odur  yard the following trains are cancelled/partially cancelled/regulated/diverted on 22nd / 23rd August, 2017 as detailed below:-

Trains Cancelled:

  • Train No. 66031 Sullurupeta-Nellore MEMU train is cancelled.
  • Train No. 66032 Nellore-Sullurupeta MEMU train is cancelled.

Trains Partially Cancelled:

  • Train No. 66036 Nellore-Sullurupeta MEMU will be partially cancelled between Gudur and Sullurupeta.

Trains Regulated:

  • Train No. 12688 Dehradun-Madurai Express will be regulated by 45 minutes enroute.

Trains Diverted:

  • Train No. 12841 Howrah-Chennai Coromandal Express is diverted to run via Renigunta, Arakkonam stations on 21st August, 2017.
  • Train No. 12665 Howrah-Kanniyakumari Express is diverted to run via Renigunta, Arakkonam and Chennai Beach stations on 21st August, 2017.
  • Train No. 12612 H.Nizamuddin-Chennai Garibrath Express is diverted to run via Renigunta and Arakkonam stations on 21st August, 2017.
  • Train No. 22645 Indore-Thiruvananthapuram Ahilya Nagari Express is diverted to run via Renigunta, Arakkonam and Chennai stations on 21st August, 2017.
  • Train No. 13351 Dhanbad-Alappuzha Express is diverted to run via Renigunta, Arakkonam and Chennai stations on 21st August, 2017.

Additional Stoppages provided for Six Express Trains

Ministry of Railway have decided to provide additional stoppages for the following trains on experimental basis for a period of six months. Train No. 22663/22664 Chennai Egomore-Jodhpur – Chennai Egomore Express is provided stoppage at Chandrapur railway station. Train No. 12767/12768 H.S.Nanded-Santragachi – H.S.Nanded Express is provided stoppage at Chandrapur railway station. Train No. 12655/12656 Ahmedabad-Chennai-Ahmedabad Navjeevan Express is provided stoppage at Pulgaon railway station as detailed below:-

Additional Stoppage at Chandrapur Station:

  1. Accordingly, Train No. 22663 Chennai Egmore-Jodhpur Express will arrive / depart Chandrapur at 06:10/06:12 hrs with effect from 3rd September, 2017.
  2. Train No. 22664 Jodhpur-Chennai Egmore Express will arrive / depart Chandrapur at 01:32/01:34 hrs with effect from 30th August, 2017.                                 
  3. Accordingly, Train No. 12767 H.S.Nanded-Santragachi Express will arrive / depart Chandrapur at 22:20/22:22 hrs with effect from 4th September, 2017.
  4. Train No. 12768 Santragachi-H.S.Nanded Express will arrive / depart Chandrapur at 11:28/11:30 hrs with effect from 31st August, 2017.

Additional Stoppage at Pulgaon Station:

  1. Accordingly, Train No. 12655 Ahmedabad-Chennai Navjeevan Express will arrive / depart Pulgaon at 21:55/21:57 hrs with effect from 31st August, 2017.
  2. Train No. 12656 Chennai-Ahmedabad Navjeevan Express will arrive / depart Pulgaon at 02:58/03:00 hrs with effect from 31st August, 2017.

Trains Regulated due to Traffic Block

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In order to laying of points & crossing at Kavanur on Southern Railway on 19th & 22nd August, 2017 the following trains will be regulated as detailed below:-

Regulations:

  1. Train No. 12578 Mysore-Darbhanga Bagmati Express will be regulated by 3 hrs Enroute on 19th August, 2017.
  2. Train No. 17209 KSR Bengaluru-Kakinada Town Seshadri Express will be regulated by 1 hour and 25 minutes enroute on 19th August, 2017.

Train No. 17209 KSR Bengaluru-Kakinada Town Seshadri Express will be regulated by 25 minutes enroute  on 22nd August, 2017

Railways run Special Train from Howrah to Kanniyakumari via.Vijayawada

In order to clear extra rush a one way special train will be run from Howrah to Kanniyakumari as per the following schedule:-

Accordingly, Train No.05906 Howrah-Kanniyakumari special train will depart Howrah at 06:05 hrs on 19th August, 2017 (Saturday) and arrive Kanniyakumari at 09:50 hrs on the second day.

Enroute, this special train will stop at Barddhaman, Durgapur, Asansol, Adra Jn, Bankura, Midnapur, Hijili, Balasore, Bhadrakh, Cuttack, Bhubaneswar, Khurda Rd, Berhampur, Palasa, Srikakulam Rd, Vizainagaram, Visakhapatnam, Duvvada, Samalkot, Rajahmundry, Eluru, Vijayawada, Ongole, Nellore, Renigunta, Katpadi, Jolarpettai, Salem, Erode, Tirupur, Coimbatore, Palghat, Thrisur, Aluva, Ernakulam, Kottayam, Chengannur, Kollam, Trivandrum, and Nagarcoil stations.

This special train will consist of one AC II Tier, three AC III Tier, eleven Sleeper Class, four General Second Class and two Luggage cum Brake van Coaches.

The Special Train will run on the Howrah / Asansol / Adra / Kharagpur / Khurda Road / Bhubaneswar / Waltair / Vijayawada / Guntakal / Chennai / Selam / Palghat / Thiruvananthapuram Divisions on various Zonal Rail systems of Indian Railways.

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