Sunday, January 3, 2010

10 killed as trains collide in dense fog in U.P.
Atiq Khan and K. Balchand -The Hindu-03.01.10
Five trains involved in three collisions; rail traffic in disarray
LUCKNOW/NEW DELHI: Ten persons were killed and over 40 injured in three train accidents at three different places in Uttar Pradesh on Saturday morning, even as dense fog played havoc with rail, road and air traffic. The accidents, in a span of three hours, involved five express trains.
All casualties occurred at the Panki station near Kanpur when the Bhiwani-Gorakhpur Gorakhdam Express rammed the stationary New-Delhi-Prayagraj Express from the rear around 9 a.m. The victims were in the last two unreserved compartments of the Allahabad-bound train. The guard too is said to have been killed.
Earlier in the day, the Delhi-Sitamarhi Lichchavi Express rammed the stationary Magadh Express near the Sarai Bhopat station in Etawah district at 8.15 a.m. Both trains were going to Bihar behind schedule. No casualties were reported from Etawah, but the condition of the driver of the Lichchavi Express was stated to be serious.
Dense fog was the stated cause for both the collisions. The important fact is that two trains were stationary and the two others had decided to move on their forward journeys. The explanation forwarded is that the Automatic Block System is in operation in this section allowing the driver to proceed at a restricted speed even if he gets a cautionary red signal.
As per rules, on sighting a red signal, any loco driver can proceed after a one-minute halt at the maximum speed of 8 km. during day time. At night, the driver is expected to halt for two minutes before proceeding at no more than 8 km. per hour.
The drivers of the Lichchavi Express and Gorakhdham Express, it was stated, exercised this option. While fog prevented them from seeing the trains stationed ahead, the speed of the Lichchavi Express was relatively less.
Within hours of the two accidents, the Saryu Express, which was going from Ayodhya to Allahabad, hit a trolley near Tharwai. Two persons were injured.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has condoled the deaths and ordered compensation of Rs. 5 lakh to the families of the dead, Rs. 1 lakh to those seriously injured and Rs. 10,000 to those with minor injuries.

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