Close on the heels of head-on collision of two goods trains in Uttar Pradesh last week, the Railways has launched a month-long safety drive to prevent accidents such as derailment and overshooting of signals by loco pilots. Under the drive, senior officers from Railway Board, zonal railways and divisions will visit various sections, lobbies of crews, maintenance centres, work sites, etc and carry out “thorough review of working practices” to check and enforce safe operational and maintenance practices prescribed to prevent accidents/unusual incidents.
“Emphasis has been given on observance of signalling aspects and braking practices by assistant loco pilots/ loco pilots…,” a statement of the Railway ministry said on Sunday. Officers will also interact and counsel staff on right and wrong practices in operations.
On February 16, two goods trains, one loaded with coal and the other empty, collided head on in Lucknow division when the loaded train overshot its signal at 5.30 am, causing derailment of wagons. Though the prima facie cause of the accident has been cited as overshooting of signal or “Signal Passed at Danger”, it is learnt that the loco pilot claimed that the brakes did not function on time. However, the real reason for the collision will come out after an inquiry by officers of Senior Administrative Grade.
The matter comes at a time when the Railways is working on a possible solution to erratic brakes in its wagons fitted with Bogie-Mounted Brake System (BMBS). Thirty-nine wagons of the loaded train have been fitted with this system. A technical official was learnt to be at the accident site to ascertain if the BMBS of the rake worked.