Officials announced on Sunday that the catastrophe in eastern India that left 275 people dead and hundreds injured was brought on by a mistake in the electronic signaling system that allowed a train to mistakenly change tracks and collide with a freight train.
In one of the deadliest rail accidents to hit the nation in decades, two passenger trains derailed Friday night in Balasore district of Odisha state, and authorities are still working to clean up the twisted debris.
Following a top state official’s Sunday morning estimate of over 300 fatalities, the death toll in Odisha was lowered to 275 in a government announcement.
Since the officer was not authorized to speak to reporters, he spoke on the condition of anonymity.
An iron ore-laden freight train was struck by the high-speed Coromandel Express after it entered an adjacent loop line after receiving a signal to run on the main track line, according to preliminary investigations, according to senior railway official Jaya Verma Sinha.
The oncoming Yesvantpur-Howrah Express from the opposite side also derailed as a result of the incident, which flipped the carriages of the Coromandel Express onto a different track.
She claimed that the 2,296-person passenger trains were not traveling at excessive speeds.
In order to make room for a passing train on the main route, freight trains are frequently parked on a nearby loop line.
Verma said that an electronic malfunction was the primary contributor to the incident.
A safety mechanism called the electronic interlocking system was created to stop trains from moving in opposition to one another.
Additionally, it keeps an eye on the condition of signals that inform drivers of the presence of stationary trains on the track, the speed limit, and their proximity to the next train.
“There are 99.9% no errors in the system. But there is always a 0.1% possibility of making a mistake, according to Verma. When asked if sabotage might have been involved in the crash, she responded, “Nothing is ruled out.”