Wednesday, August 23, 2017

By Express News Service | Published: 22nd August 2017 

CHENNAI: Two days after Utkal Express derailed in Uttar Pradesh, leading to the death of 24 passengers, the All India Loco Running Staff Association (AILRSA) has demanded the implementation of extended traffic blocks, required manpower and track machines to ensure proper track maintenance. The measures were recommended by a task force of railway officers constituted last December to improve the safety performance. The task force was formed after the Indore- Rajendra Nagar Express derailed near Kanpur in November 2016, when more than 140 lives were lost.

Calling for time-bound implementation of system improvement, L Mony, president, AILRSA, said the task force had recommended that dedicated maintenance block on all routes for upto three hours be given by the divisional authorities, instead of referring the matter to headquarters.

“The task force had called for all maintenance backlog for tracks to be wiped out in one year. Time bound for zonal railways for implementation is one year,” Mony said. The association has also come down on reports suggesting the application of sudden brake, as was done by the Utkal Express pilot, to be the reason for derailment. Quoting a railway circular, Mony said, “It is a standard design feature to stop the train in shortest possible distance from the given speed in case of emergency. It is in line with the International Union of Railways guidelines.”

As for the probe into the Utkal Express incident, Mony said, “Merely fixing responsibility on staff and ending with finding human error will lead to resurface of same kind again,” adding that hidden reasons must be analysed to find what went wrong.

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