In the aftermath of the Balasore railway tragedy, which claimed several lives, the bypassing of electronic signal maintainers has become a significant issue in the Indian Railways system. The government has responded by ordering a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe to investigate the root cause of the accident and determine how the electronic signal maintainer was able to bypass the established rules of the Indian Railways' route relay interlocking system.
2018 Derailment Of Train No 14003
It is not the first time such instances have been reported in recent years. In 2018, during the investigation into the derailment of train No 14003 UP Malda Town-New Delhi Express at Harchandpur station in the Rae Bareli Lucknow section of the Lucknow Division in the Northern Railway (NR), SK Pathak, Commissioner of Railway Safety of the Northern Circle, raised concerns about similar flaws in the railway signaling system.
FPJ has the copy of the report of the commissioner of safety of Northern Circle, which was submitted to the railway authorities in November 2018.
In his report submitted to the general manager of the NR in November 2018, Pathak highlighted the need for Indian Railways to establish reasonable timeframes and a specific number of attempts after which a point not responding to commands from the control panel should be declared as failed. He also recommended necessary changes in the data logger software to address these issues effectively.
Furthermore, Pathak proposed several additional measures to enhance the safety and accountability of the signalling system.
Accident Could Have Been Averted: Official
A retired official of Indian railway traffic department who didn't want to be quoted, said, “If commissioner of railway safety of Northern Circle was implemented fully, this type of accidents could be averted.”
When enquired about this letter of CRS and his recommendations, AK Srivastava former additional general manager of Central Railway said, “Certainly acceptance and implementation of these suggestions would have gone a long way to protect and prevent signaling gears from tampering or any unauthorised interference. The cause of the tragedy is under investigation but one may still make a conjecture that carrying out of these suggestions might have averted or at least made the possibility less.”