Uttarbanga Express had crossed speed limit: Officials

The train, on its way to Sealdah from Coochbehar in West Bengal, was supposed to halt at the Sainthia Station but it did not and rammed into the stationary Vananchal Express, bound for Ranchi, from behind at 1.53 AM, Railway ministry officials said.

"Prime facia, it appears the Uttarbanga Express was speeding at 63 kmph at the time of collision," an official said.

"This was unusual that the driver was accelerating at more than 60 kmph into a station despite it being a scheduled stoppage for it," the official said.

It is being ascertain as to why the driver committed such "elementary" mistakes, the officials said.

Driver M C Dey along with assistant driver N K Mandal died on the spot in the accident.
"Dey had an unblemished accident-free record and was promoted recently. Morever he had adequate rest before taking charge of the train at Malda station, five hours before the accident," the official said.

Incidentally, Dey seemed to have even overlooked the speed restriction of 30 kmph on a bridge just ahead of the station and was racing ahead, the official said.

Prior to the accident, Dey had a conversation with the Railway Station staff at Rampurhat, which falls just ahead of Sainthia, and that showed that he was in absolute control of the train, ruling out the possibility of his being in inebriated condition, the official said.

Commissioner of Railway Safety is holding a detailed inquiry into the accident, the second in less than two months after Jnaneshwari train accident in the State which claimed 148 lives.

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