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Odisha train tragedy: Railway board briefs media over Balasore accident; check for detailed findings here

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The Railway board held a press conference on Sunday in order to brief the media about the details of the Balasore train accident that claimed nearly 300 lives and left almost 1000 injured on Friday night.

Preliminary finding says some issue detected with signalling, said Railway Board member. However, it is only a preliminary finding and it might change, said Jaya Verma, a member of the Railway Board while addressing the media.

Giving information about the speed of the trains, Verma said that the Coromandel Express was at the speed of 128 kmph. It collided with an iron ore train. The goods train was loaded with heavy iron ore and hence it did not even move despite the impact.

The Yesvantpur Express was at the speed of 126 kmph. Unfortunately, the coaches of Coromandel Express collided with the last two coaches of Yesvantpur Express which further caused casualties. Both trains were shown green signal and hence were running on their full permitted speed. The issue of overspeeding was completely ruled out.

Railway Board member Jaya Verma said that 139 is the common helpline for all those affected or the loved ones of those hit due to the train crash. Verma added that once the affected family person of any victim or those still looking for the whereabouts of their relatives get in touch via the 139 helpline, it will be on the Railway to provide for their journey and accommodation.

Railway Board member Jaya Verma also said that the prima facie cause of the accident has been known. However, the board member added that as a “responsible officer” she cannot share the exact cause as there is need to wait for the CRS report, as that is the protocol. The CRS inquiry is underway and more details will be shared only after the investigation is over.

“We should all be proud of Kavach as it is an indigenously develop system,” said Railway Board member when questioned about Kavach. She added that Kavach’s trial was held with the Railway minister. However, the member said that the expansion of Kavach system on all routes will take time and that it is a very expensive system and its proliferation has been approved at the high budget.

On the question if Kavach could have prevented this accident, Verma said, “Had Kavach been here it could have been on the locomotive and on the track. The Kavach would have had only 100 meters to respond with the train at the speed of close of 130 kmph. For a train moving at 130 kmph, it needs 600 meters distance for break. The system would not have got an input to stop and only after it had hit an obstruction at 100 kmph would the Kavach have responded. If a boulder falls suddenly, then Kavach can’t help.” She further said, “I don’t think there is any technology in the world that can prevent such kind of an accident. It is like a huge stone falling in front of the train and nothing can be done about it.”

“Immediately after the accident, we spoke to the driver of Coromandel Express and he had said that he had received a green signal. He couldn’t talk much after this and he is undergoing treatment as he has serious injuries,” said Verma. She also said that the media would be taken to the War Room from where all the coordination was done right from the time of the accident.

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