Millennium Post

Reports on rail safety, accidents gather dust

According to an internal inquiry, after several accidents and losses to the tune of several hundred crores of rupee, the railway has so far failed to fully commission the modern preventive systems to avoid accidents. These inquiries have been held by commission for railway safety and also at the departmental level.

Addressing the concern for execution of safety measures, an inquiry report states, ‘Fog Safe Device, a  GPS-based apparatus, is provided on limited, high-density, fog-prone sections on Indian railways on trial basis. However, it does not indicate the accuracy of the signal. Preliminary trials of FSD were also carried out few years ago but did not establish the suitability due to unreliable readings. Any proliferation of FSD will have to wait till sufficient data is available to establish their reliability, crew friendliness and ruggedness of the equipment.’

The departmental inquiry report states that major safety devices or systems need to be either upgraded or require proper trial before implementation. The anti-collision device, which has been on trial at the Northern Frontier Railway, ‘has operational problems and technical issues that need to be resolved.’ Other existing systems include train protection warning mechanisms, train collision avoidance equipments, mobile train radio communication, among others.

The inquiry report states that ‘out of 26 consequential train accidents, 19 have been attributed to failure of railway staff, one to equipment failure, one to sabotage, one to incidental factors, while the prima facie cause is awaited in one train accident.’
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