A recent joint report from the Mumbai division of Central Railway has shed light on the derailment of a goods train near Panvel railway station in the central railways Mumbai division.
The incident, which occurred at approximately 3:05 pm on a Saturday, has significant implications and a detailed investigation has uncovered the underlying causes.
Negligence in Track Maintenance
The joint report, prepared by the Mumbai division of Central Railway, has revealed a startling lapse in track maintenance.
It stated that track maintenance work was indeed in progress at the time of the incident. However, no traffic block or caution order had been imposed during this work, a crucial oversight according to the report.
Sequence of Events
The report provides insight into the sequence of events leading to the derailment. It explained that sleeper replacement and drainage work were being carried out. Initially, the locomotive and the first 56 wagons of the goods train passed safely. However, as a result of gradual track sinking and the heavy tonnage of the trains, the track's tolerance limits were exceeded.
This led to the derailment of the 57th wagon, followed by another three wagons and a brake van. Importantly, the report found no irregularities in wagon loading or cargo placement, indicating that uneven loading was not a factor in the derailment.
Direct Result of Maintenance Work
The report concluded that the twist in the track was directly linked to the sleeper replacement and drainage repair work. As the locomotive and the initial 56 wagons safely navigated the track, the 57th wagon derailed when the track's tolerance limits were surpassed. Cross strain subsequently caused the derailment of additional wagons and the brake van.
Shockingly, the report also exposed that existing drainage repair work had been carried out without the imposition of a caution order. Additionally, track maintenance personnel were found tampering with evidence after the derailment.
The consequences of this derailment were far-reaching. A total of 55 passenger trains were affected, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. Property damage estimated at nearly Rs 10 lakh included damage to track infrastructure, signaling equipment, and overhead equipment.
The cancellation of passenger trains compounded the financial losses due to ticket cancellations. A total of 26 trains were fully cancelled, and 10 others either short-originated or short-terminated as a result of this derailment.