Explained: Kavach Could Not Have Prevented Odisha Train Accident

Bhubaneswar: The Railways on Sunday dismissed speculation that the automatic train protection system Kavach could have prevented the triple crash in Odisha’s Balasore district.

Member of Operation and Business Development, Railway Board, Jaya Varma Sinha reasoned that the reaction time and distance were very short as the train was travelling at a very high speed. “If an obstruction comes suddenly in front of a high-moving vehicle then no technology in the world would prevent an accident,” she told a presser.

Kavach developed by the Research Design and Standards Organisation (RDSO) to boost train safety, came into the spotlight following the 3-way collision which resulted in 275 deaths. The system is not yet available on the route the accident took place.

Sinha further mentioned about some kind of interference – “manual, weather-related, or anything else” – leading to the accident.  “Inquiry is underway, we are investigating all angles. Prima facie it appears to be an issue of signalling, but we cannot authenticate anything as of now. There is possibility of equipment failure in all electronics systems. It would be revealed by a full probe,” she added.

A preliminary probe had revealed that Coromandel Express had accidentally entered the loop line and crashed into a goods train parked just ahead of the Bahanagar Bazar station while Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express capsized after crashing into its scattered coaches on the adjacent track.

Sinha also dismissed reports that the trains were overspending at the time. “Safety is the top priority for Railways. We are making sure that the evidence does not get tampered and that any witness does not get affected. The driver of the train who sustained serious injuries said that the train moved forward only after it received a ‘Green’ signal. Neither did he jump any signal nor the train was overspeeding,” she told ANI.

Coromandel Express had been moving at a speed of 128 kmph while the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express was running at a speed of 116 kmph, a PTI report said quoting sources.

“Our helpline number 139 is available. This is not a call centre number, our senior officers are answering the calls and we are trying to connect as many people as possible. The family members of the injured or deceased can call us and we will make sure that they are able to meet them. We will take care of their journey and other expenses,” she added.


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