7 railway staff suspended after coaches roll down track

Seven railway men were suspended in connection with lapses that led to 22 coaches of an express train with passengers on board travelling a few kilometres without an engine in Odisha.

A possible disaster was averted after alert staff put stones on the track and brought the Ahmedabad-Puri Express to a halt late on Saturday night, an East Coast Railway (ECoR) spokesman said, adding all the passengers are safe.

A day after the incident, Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani ordered a month-long safety drive across the network.

The drive will be carried out jointly by operating and electrical departments, according to a statement issued by the Indian Railways in Delhi.

While five railway personnel were placed under suspension this morning, two were suspended soon after the coaches of the train rolled down the track at Titlagarh in Balangir district after detachment of the engine, the ECoR spokesman said.

Two engine drivers, three carriage repairing staff and two operating department employees were placed under suspension, he said.

The coaches travelled from Titlagarh station towards Kesinga in Kalahandi district after the engine was detached to be attached at the other end, the spokesman said, adding the section from Titlagarh towards Kesinga has a downward slope.

The incident took place apparently due to non-application of skid brakes on the wheels of the coaches by the staff deployed there. According to rules, the staff should have put the skid brakes, he said.

"When an engine is detached to be attached at the other end, coaches should be secured with wheel skid brakes. In this case, it appears that skid brakes were not placed properly. Facts will be known after a detailed enquiry," he said.

Divisional Railway Manager, Sambalpur, Jaideep Gupta has ordered a probe by divisional heads of different departments, the spokesman said.

Soon after the incident, an engine was sent from Titlagarh to ferry the coaches back, he said.


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