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The September 12 collision that claimed the lives of ten people and left 86 injured could have been caused by a “signal flew back error”. The Times of India reports that “This error occurs when a system shows a wrong signal and turns to the right signal in a few seconds.” Meaning the signal light could have been green when the train driver approached, causing him to accelerate. The light would have then changed to the correct yellow or red light, but it would have done so too late for the driver to see.
The Chenai Beach-Vellore Electric Multiple Unit train (EMU) crashed into a stationary Arakkonam-Katpadi passenger train waiting for a signal near Chitheri station. Eight coaches were derailed and three completely damaged in the accident. Both trains were loaded with passengers.
India Rail wrote on their website that “the accident occurred amidst heavy downpour which hampered rescue and relief operations.”
As a result of the collision, trains were cancelled, diverted or rescheduled at Chennai. This affected locals who rely on the train to get them to and from work on a daily basis. Fortunately, the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation deployed 45 buses to transport passengers.
According to reports, rescue teams had cleared the mangled steel from the tracks and trains were allowed to pass through the spot to Chennai by Wednesday, September 13. Thus allowing some normalcy to those using the line.
Initially, the driver, A. Rajkumar was suspected for being the cause of the accident by over speeding and ignoring signals to slow down. He managed to jump out of the driver’s cabin just before the collision and was also seriously injured. As a result of his injuries, there was no word on exactly what had taken place. Somewhat recovered, Rajkumar stated that the first two signals had been yellow, however, the last one had been green and that was the reason he had accelerated. Railway Minister Danish Travedi said a breathalyzer test had been done on the driver and cleared him of being under the influence of alcohol.
The commissioner of railway safety S K Mittal is going through the signal records and an inquiry report is expected to be out in a few days to determine where the liability lies.
About 18 million people use the accident prone railway line on a daily basis. Only a month ago, a collision in West Bengal took the lives of 200 people. Another post on the India Railway site states that Indian Railways are working on a system to prevent train accidents like the one near Arakkonam in Tamil Nadu Tuesday night, which killed 10 and injured 86, said Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi Wednesday.
Speaking to reporters at Arakonam in Vellore district, Trivedi said: “A system is being worked out to ensure these incidents do not happen.” He did not elaborate.