Ramakanta Biswas

In a major revelation, the inquiry report of the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS), South Eastern Circle has stated that the deadly train mishap at Bahanaga station in Odisha’s Balasore had occurred due to lapses in the signaling-circuit-alteration carried out at the North Signal Goomty (of the station) in the past. 

"Having carefully considered all the records submitted, observations made during the site inspection, analysis of the events logged in the data-logger records, and evidences/information received in the inquiry proceedings, I have come to the conclusion that the accident of Train No.12841 (Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express), the Goods Train No. N/DDIP and Train No. 12864 (SMVT-Bengaluru-Howrah Express) at Bahanaga Bazar station on 02.06.2023 at about 18:56 hrs in Kharagpur-Ranital section of Kharagpur division in South Eastern Railway, was a case of the rear-collision of Train No. 12841 with the Goods train (N/DDIP) standing on the Up loop line (common loop) of the Station," the CRS said in its report.  

"The last two coaches of Train No. 12864, which was passing on the Down Main line of the station at the same time, were hit by the derailed coaches of Train No.12841, and capsized. The rear-collision was due to the lapses in the signalling-circuit-alteration carried out at the North Signal Goomty (of the station) in the past, and during the execution of the signalling work related to replacement of Electric Lifting Barrier for level crossing gate no. 94 at the Station," the Commissioner added in the findings. 

"These lapses resulted in wrong signalling to the Train No. 12841 wherein the UP Home Signal indicated Green aspect for run-through movement on the UP main line of the station, but the crossover connecting the Up main line to the Up loop line (crossover 17A/B) was set to the UP loop line; the wrong signalling resulted in the Train No.12841 traversing on the UP loop line, and eventual rear-collision with the Goods train (No. N/DDIP) standing there," the report stated.  

The probe report further stated that lapses at multiple levels in the Signal & Telecom department were responsible for this accident. 

Could the accident have been averted? 

"Notwithstanding the lapses in signalling work, had the SM/BNBR informed the repeated unusual behavior of the Crossover 17A/B (para, and para 8.1.4) to the S&T staff, they could have traced the false feed extending to the El logic for circuit of Crossover 17A/B," the report said.

The report also said that there was a similar incident on May 16, 2022 at Bankranayabaz station in Khargpur Division of South Eastern Railway, on account of wrong wiring and cable fault.

"Had corrective measures been taken, after this incident, to address the issue of wrong wiring the accident at BNBR would not have taken place," the report said.

The CRS has recommended that a drive should be launched to update the completion signalling wiring diagrams, other documents and lettering of signaling circuits at site.

Standard practices should be followed for carrying out signalling-modification work. It has also said that any alteration to signalling circuits should be carried out with an approved circuit diagram and in the presence of an officer.

It also suggested a separate team should be deployed for checking and testing of modified signalling circuits and functions before restoration and reconnection of the work.

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