West Bengal Train Tragedy: 'Loco Pilot Of Goods Train That Hit Kanchanjunga Express Had Not Slept For 4 Nights,' Says Loco Staff Association Official

West Bengal Train Tragedy: 'Loco Pilot Of Goods Train That Hit Kanchanjunga Express Had Not Slept For 4 Nights,' Says Loco Staff Association Official

The collision occurred on June 17 at 8:55 AM near Darjeeling, West Bengal, when a goods train rear-ended the Kanchanjunga Express (13174), resulting in ten fatalities and injuries to 41 passengers.

Rahul MUpdated: Wednesday, June 19, 2024, 01:27 PM IST
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West Bengal Train Tragedy: 'Loco Pilot Of Goods Train That Hit Kanchanjunga Express Had Not Slept For 4 Nights,' Says Loco Staff Association Official |

West Bengal: The Railway Board is attributing the Kanchanjunga train accident to the goods train’s loco pilot, claiming he drove the train at a speed exceeding the prescribed limit amidst malfunctioning signals after receiving the TA 912 authority pass from Rangapani station. According to a report by Dainik Bhaskar, the goods train’s loco pilot had not slept for four consecutive nights.

Loco Staff Association Official Shares Information

According to S.S. Thakur, Vice President of the All India Running Loco Staff Association, there is a crucial rule associated with the TA 912 form, used when signals fail. This rule mandates that no train should leave a station until the preceding train has cleared the next station. This protocol was not followed at Rangapani station. The station master issued the TA 912 pass to the goods train just 15 minutes after Kanchanjunga had moved ahead, despite it being stalled a few kilometers down the track. Thakur insists that this error by the station master also requires investigation.

Thakur also highlighted the undue blame placed on the loco pilot, who had not slept for four consecutive nights, violating the rule that limits continuous night duty to two nights. He further mentioned that adequate training on handling trains during signal failures has not been provided to the loco staff in the North-East zone.

Trend Of Blaming Loco Pilots For Accidents

The speed of the goods train was 78 km/h. Thakur pointed out a trend of blaming loco pilots for accidents. For instance, after the Coromandel Express accident in Odisha, it was alleged that the loco pilot and co-pilot were watching cricket on their phones, which was later debunked by the Commissioner of Safety's investigation that revealed their phones were off two hours prior to the accident.

Janak Kumar Garg, Chief Safety Commissioner of Northeast Frontier Railway, confirmed that the goods train's speedometer indicated a speed of 78 km/h at the time of the accident. Tragically, a six-year-old girl named Sneha, who was injured in the accident, passed away on June 18, raising the death toll to ten.

A female passenger, Chinmay Majumdar, filed a complaint against the goods train's drivers (loco and co-loco pilots), asserting that their negligence caused the accident. She described witnessing the goods train colliding with Kanchanjunga Express from behind, resulting in severe damage to the goods train’s engine.

Inquiry To Be Launched

According to the report, the North-East Frontier Railway will conduct an inquiry soon to determine the exact cause of the accident. Chief Commissioner of Railway Safety Janak Garg will lead the investigation at the ADRM Chamber, and evidence related to the accident will be reviewed. Some individuals have also been summoned for the inquiry.

After passing a fitness test, the Kanchanjunga train reached Sealdah at around 3:15 AM on June 18. Due to the accident, seven trains on this route were cancelled, and 37 were diverted.

The collision occurred on June 17 at 8:55 AM near Darjeeling, West Bengal, when a goods train rear-ended the Kanchanjunga Express (13174), resulting in ten fatalities and injuries to 41 passengers.

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