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Approximately 12 hours after the devastating train derailments in Odisha that resulted in the tragic loss of at least 261 lives, the Indian Railways is examining the possibility of a signaling error as the initial cause, according to sources cited by The Indian Express.

Late on Friday evening, two passenger trains, the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express and the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express, derailed in Balasore, Odisha, leaving over 900 people injured. Additionally, a goods train was also affected in the incident.

A joint inspection report by supervisors from various disciplines suggests that the Coromandel Express was given a green signal to proceed on the designated main line. However, the signal was then taken off, causing the train to enter the loop line, collide with a stationary goods train, and derail. Simultaneously, on the down line, the Yashwantpur-Howrah Superfast Express had arrived, resulting in the derailment of two of its coaches.

The report states, “After careful observation, we have concluded that a signal was given and taken off for the Up main line for train 12841, but this train entered the Up loop line and collided with the goods train on the Up loop line, leading to derailment.”

While the Commissioner of Railway Safety will conduct a detailed investigation, railway officials are currently exploring the possibility of a signaling error or failure as well as issues related to the locomotive pilot. The Railways has not yet officially announced the cause of the derailments.


Early in the morning, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, along with Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba, Home Minister Amit Shah, and other senior officials from the Prime Minister’s Office and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), received a briefing on the accident from Jaya Varma Sinha, a member of the Railway Board responsible for operations and business development.

Following approximately 10 hours of intense mobilization of resources from the state and central governments, the rescue operation at the Bahanaga Bazar railway station in Odisha was successfully completed on Saturday morning. Railway ministry spokesperson Amitabh Sharma stated, “The rescue operation has been completed, and now we are commencing restoration work.”

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw and the entire Railway Board, with the exception of the members responsible for operations and finance, are present at the accident site.

Furthermore, two special trains carrying 1,200 stranded passengers from the Coromandel Express and the Yashwantpur-Howrah Superfast Express have departed from the accident spot.


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