Mint Quick Edit | Painful deja vu: Tackle railway safety

The locomotive pilot of the goods train is said to have disregarded a signal, which led to the accident.  (REUTERS)
The locomotive pilot of the goods train is said to have disregarded a signal, which led to the accident. (REUTERS)

Summary

  • At least nine people have been killed and several dozens injured after a Kolkata-bound goods train rammed into Sealdah-bound passenger train Kanchanjunga Express. Don’t wait for the Kavach technology upgrade to plug safety gaps.

At least nine people have been killed and several dozens injured after a Kolkata-bound goods train rammed into Sealdah-bound passenger train Kanchanjunga Express from the rear in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district on Monday. The impact caused three of the passenger train’s compartments to derail, although two of them reportedly had goods, which may have helped limit the death toll. 

That said, it’s distressing to see train accidents in India with such regularity. For a country that boasts of one of the largest rail networks in the world, such crashes are a blot on its safety record. The locomotive pilot of the goods train is said to have disregarded a signal, which led to the accident. This hints at human error and is likely to intensify India’s focus on the deployment of its indigenously developed Kavach safety system that’s designed to halt trains on a collision course. 

Also read: Signal overshot, missing Kavach system: 2 factors that likely caused goods train to collide with Kanchanjunga Express

While automated safety systems are a must, we mustn’t rely on this upgrade, which is likely to take a long time, as our only way out. Our railway safety apparatus needs to be reviewed thoroughly in the meantime. With countless people relying on this low-cost mode of transport, even a single smash-up is one too many.

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