19 August UP(INDIA)- At least 23 people died and more than 70 others were injured when 14 coaches of the Puri Haridwar Utkal Express derailed in Khatauli, around 40km from Muzaffarnagar, on Saturday evening.
While the railways is examining all possibilities behind the derailment, its sour ces said that the accident occurred because of “maintenance failure”. An official said railways staff was engaged in “unofficial” mainte nance of the track at the time of the accident, which means they did not put up any speed restriction warning, such as red flags or signal warning, to alert drivers of the incoming trains. Incidentally , a senior official of the engineering department of Northern Railways was present on the spot at the time of accident.
The train was running at 106 kmph, an official said, while the speed limit when a track is maintained must be around 10-15 kmph. Moreover, the driver of this train should have been be adequately warned about the hazard on the tracks.
Ruling out sabotage, another railway official said that the train derailed after the engine and five coaches passed the spot safely , which would not have been possible at such a high speed if the track had been tampered with. The accident happened at 5.37pm, almost after an hour a Delhi-Saha ranpur DEMU train passed the spot at 4.40 pm. The impact was so high that one of the bogeys climbed onto another. While another crashed into a house, a third ran into a college.
“There were many women and kids in our coach. All of us were sitting and talking when there was a jolt and our coach overturned,” said Hakim Das, an ascetic who was travelling with others to Haridwar to take holy dip in Ganga on the occasion of Somvati Amavasya.