NEW DELHI: The preliminary investigation report into the tragic train accident in Odisha’s Balasore stated that the Coromandel Express, instead of staying on the main track, wrongly entered a loop line and collided with a stationary goods train.
Subsequently, the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express collided with the scattered coaches of the Coromandel Express on the adjacent track.
The tragic accident resulted in the loss of at least 238 lives, with nearly a thousand others sustaining injuries.
According to the preliminary investigation report, a copy of which is with The New Indian, the signal for the up main line of train number 12841 was given and then removed. However, instead of staying on the main line, the train entered the loop line, collided with the goods train, and subsequently derailed. At the same time, train number 12864 travelled through the down main line, resulting in two of its coaches derailing and capsizing, as stated in the report.
The report also mentioned that “on the main line, some number of sleepers and rail was found damaged. It also said that overhead wires of up and down lines were in damaged condition (sic)”.
While eyewitnesses have provided accounts confirming the collision between the Coromandel Express and the goods train, these reports have not been officially verified by Indian Railways. Concerns have also been raised regarding potential operational errors and signal failures.
According to sources, the Coromandel Express was travelling at a speed of 128 kmph, while the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express was running at 116 kmph. Both trains were carrying approximately 2,000 passengers. The third train involved in the crash was the stationary goods train.
Loop lines are constructed within station areas to facilitate smoother rail operations and accommodate a larger number of trains. Generally around 750 meters in length, loop lines can accommodate a full-length goods train with multiple engines. After a short distance, these tracks merge back into the main line.
The preliminary investigation has revealed that the Coromandel Express train inadvertently entered the loop line and collided with the parked goods train instead of staying on the main line.
The tragic incident occurred just before the Bahanaga Bazar station on Friday when the Coromandel Express entered the loop line where the goods train was stationed. Reports indicate that there was a track intersection on the yard layout map, possibly leading to the deviation of the Coromandel Express from the main line.
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