We are deeply shocked and saddened at the tragic death of nearly 300 people when three trains collided one after another in a horrific sequence in India’s Odisha’s Balasore district on Friday evening. The death toll is set to rise amid a desperate scramble to locate survivors from the mangled wreck.
The accident that happened about 220 kilometers (137 miles) southwest of Kolkata created a chaotic scene of twisted wreckage and desperate rescuers as teams tried to free passengers and recover bodies. Several coaches of the 12864 Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, on the way to Howrah, derailed and fell on adjacent tracks.
A goods train was also involved in the accident as some of the coaches of the Coromandel Express, which was heading to Chennai, hit its wagons after getting derailed. Railway tracks were almost destroyed at the spot as mangled coaches lay strewn all over, with some having mounted on another, while a few coaches turned turtle due to the impact.
The authorities concerned
should be more alert to stop
recurrence of train accidents
Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, several hundred accidents occur every year on India’s railways, the largest train network under one management in the world. In August 1995, two trains collided near New Delhi, killing 358 people in one of the worst train accidents in India in decades. In 2016, a passenger train slid off the tracks between the cities of Indore and Patna, killing 146 people.
We see rail accidents occurring not only in India but also in our country. In 2019, at least 16 people were killed and scores injured as two intercity trains collided in Kashba upazila of Brahmanbaria. Besides, our country frequently sees derailment of compartments, including the engine of passenger and goods trains on different routes, snapping the railway communication.
Most train accidents are blamed on human error or outdated signaling equipment. The authorities concerned should be more alert to stop recurrence of train accidents. Proper training to the rail staffs and drivers is urgently needed to put an end to train accidents. Otherwise, we may also witness such massive railway disaster like in India anytime anywhere.