Faulty rail signals put lives at risk

Faulty rail signals put lives at risk

Technical issues with signalling systems are putting passengers’ safety at risk at the Yeshwanthpur Railway Station, which handles 100 trains a day, catering to 80,000 to 1 lakh people.

Two mishaps were averted on the same day on November 28, 2014 and it is time Railway officials addressed the issue on priority basis.

On November 28, the engine of the Dadar Express got derailed during shunting operations due to problems with the signalling systems in the morning. The train was rescheduled.

The same evening, the Hubli Jan Shatabdi entered the station even when the signal light remained red, indicating conflicting movement on track. Fortunately, there was no mishap.

The South Western Railways (SWR) has launched an inquiry into the matter and a three-member committee is expected to submit its report. The driver of the Hubli Jan Shatabdi has been placed under suspension till then.

There are conflicting versions of the evening incident, however. Railway officials claim the loco pilot has admitted that he failed to see the red signal while the loco pilot claims the error occurred due to glitches in the signalling system.

Speaking to Deccan Herald on Sunday, SWR Divisional Railway Manager Anil K Aggarwal admitted that the signalling systems were deficient since 2006. But he claimed that the deficiency had not led to any safety issues so far.

“There have been minor incidents due to technical issues with the signalling systems but the evening mishap was due to loco pilot’s fault as he failed to notice the red signal. However, we have to add one more circuit to the existing signal system to avoid such incidents in future,” he said.

Every day 100 trains pass through the station and there have been no safety issues due to the signalling systems. A detailed investigation is being carried out to ascertain the exact issues, he said.

Interestingly, such safety issues are cropping up even as Railways has a full-fledged department of safety with huge funds to look at such aspects. Bengaluru division also has a divisional safety officer to ensure all round safety of the trains as well as the staff and passengers.

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