RUNAWAY TRAIN

India Today - - UPFRONT -

Last week, pos­si­bly due to driver neg­li­gence and fail­ing brakes, sev­eral bo­gies from an ex­press train headed to Puri from Ahmed­abad rolled back­wards for a dozen or so kilo­me­tres without their en­gine. By­standers screamed at pas­sen­gers to pull the train’s emer­gency brake. Dis­as­ter was avoided only when some quick-think­ing rail­ways em­ploy­ees put rocks on the tracks to halt the train’s mo­men­tum. The er­rant driver and other staff have al­ready been sus­pended, with a rail­ways spokesman in­di­cat­ing that “more heads are likely to roll”. Of­fi­cials also an­nounced an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into the in­ci­dent and a month-long ef­fort to rein­tro­duce rail­ways staff to rel­e­vant safety pro­ce­dures. In­dian Rail­ways have im­proved their safety record sub­stan­tially over the last fi­nan­cial year, record­ing the low­est num­ber of ac­ci­dents in over three decades.

13

Num­ber of kilo­me­tres the train rolled back­wards, hav­ing de­tached from its en­gine

45

Min­utes the train trav­elled without its en­gine; its speed is un­known, though it slowed to a halt against some rocks

73

Rail ac­ci­dents in FY2017-18; low­est num­ber in 35 years. Down 29% from 104 ac­ci­dents in 2016-17

1,011

Deaths in 586 rail ac­ci­dents from 2012-13 to 2016-17; 238 deaths in 2016-17, high­est in 17 years, lead­ing NITI Aayog to sug­gest an in­de­pen­dent Rail­way Safety Author­ity

22

Bo­gies with 1,000 pas­sen­gers on­board; no in­juries were re­ported

7

Em­ploy­ees sus­pended, in­clud­ing the train driver, in the af­ter­math of the in­ci­dent

128,942

Po­si­tions va­cant in rail­ways ‘safety and main­te­nance’ as of April 1, 2017

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