Hyderabad: Was it a failure in the signaling system or a human error that resulted in Monday’s collision between the Lingampally-Falaknuma MMTS and the Hundry Intercity Express?
Even as officials of the South Central Railway (SCR) are groping in the dark to find out the reasons behind the collision, the recordings in the signal data-logger will be crucial for authorities to get clues on the actual cause of the accident.
The SCR has already ordered an inquiry into the incident. But according to sources, it will be the information from the data-logger that will enable officials to ascertain the reasons that led to the collision leaving 16 people injured. Sources said soon after Hundry Express got clearance for stop at Platform Three at the Kacheguda Railway Station, it was slowly moving towards the station.
At the same time, MMTS train had started from Platform Two. Sources said that instead of waiting for the signal to proceed towards Falaknuma, the MMTS allegedly overshot the signal and went on to collide with the Hundry Express.
“The signal data-logger will certainly provide details about the accident. But at the same time, the statement of the MMTS loco pilot will also be crucial in ascertaining the reasons,” a senior railway official seeking anonymity said.
The chances of a signal failure were almost remote as the Railways maintains a foolproof signaling system, officials said.
Government Railway Police (GRP) officials said the rescue operations could be launched immediately and without much hassles since the accident was quite close to the station.
“We were able to utilise all resources in taking up rescue operations,” said S Rajendra Prasad, Railways in-charge Superintendent of Police (Secunderabad Division).
After seeing the footage from surveillance cameras of the collision that was aired on vernacular news channels, Suburban Train Travellers Association general secretary Noor alleged that human error led to the incident and added that there were similar incidents in Mumbai. He requested the SCR to accord top priority to the passengers’ safety.
Trains cancelled, passengers left in lurch
With the accident, train services were disrupted between Kacheguda and Falaknuma. As many as 12 MMTS trains, 16 passenger trains and three express trains have been cancelled besides partial cancellation of 38 train services, diversion of seven express trains and rescheduling of 6 express trains.
The trains which were cancelled included Train 57456 Mahbubnagar – Kacheguda, 57305 Kacheguda – Guntur, 57435 Kacheguda – Kurnool city, 57448 Mahbubnagar – Mirzapalli, 17024 Kurnool City – Secunderabad, 57473 Kacheguda – Bodhan, 77671 Kacheguda – Mahbubnagar were cancelled on Monday. While Train 07439 Tatanagar – Kacheguda, 77672 Mahbubnagar – Kacheguda, 57486 Mirzapalli – Kacheguda, 17028 Kurnool City – Secunderabad and 12798 Chittoor – Kacheguda.
Meanwhile, restoration works for derailment of the track is being carried out on a war footing under the supervision of the SCR Additional General Manager and other senior officials to bring the train services into normalcy.
Earlier in the day, with several MMTS trains being cancelled and a severe shortage of buses due to the ongoing RTC strike, passengers around Kacheguda railway station had tough time in finding alternatives to reach their destinations. Several commuters were seen looking for autorickshaws and hiring cabs. Auto drivers, as usual, did not hesitate to fleece them and were heard asking for exorbitant charges.
First accident in 16 years of MMTS
Kacheguda Railway Station has always been a quaint little heritage station on the South Central Railway’s map. However, on Monday morning, the station, which somehow maintains a calm even during rush hour, witnessed an entirely different scenario. Passengers on the MMTS too, were in for a shock, this being the first accident in the 16 years of the MMTS.
“There was a loud sound, and the train lurched to a stop,” recalls MRC Reddy, an on-duty constable in the women’s compartment of the Lingampally–Faluknama MMTS train.
“Passengers were shouting in fear and I was in shock. I somehow managed to collect myself and rushed to the injured persons to help them. Luckily there were no casualties,” he said.
N Rajashekar, who was also travelling in the MMTS train, said several college students and office-goers were travelling from Kacheguda. “When the trains collided, passengers jumped out of the coaches and rushed to different places in fear,” he said.
Senior OGH doctors treating those injured
Senior doctors and surgeons were roped in by the Osmania General Hospital (OGH) to ensure better treatment for passengers who sustained injuries in Monday’s collision between the Lingampally-Falaknuma MMTS and the Hundry Intercity Express.
As most passengers suffered fractures, the services of orthopedic doctors along with neuro surgeons and Ear-nose-throat (ENT) doctors were also utilised for giving treatment to passengers, OGH Resident Medical Officer Mohammed Rafi said.
Barring one patient, Sekhar, who is kept under observation in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) after sustaining a cut injury at throat, other patients were recuperating, he said.
Soon after the incident, officials of South Central Railway (SCR) pressed into service a medical relief van and accident relief train to undertake relief and restoration works. With the help of the Government Railway Police (GRP), the injured were rushed to the OGH.