THE horrifying train accident near
Ferozabad in the wee hours of
August 20, which claimed at least
400 lives when the Delhi-bound
Purushottam Express rammed into a
stationary Kalindi Express, brings some
distressing questions regarding the
adequacy of railway safety measures to mind.
The railway safety sistem incorporates an inter-locking signal device,
which indicates, by way of the green
and red lights, whether the line is
clear of traffic or not. Once a train
crosses the first signal (starter), the
system has to ensure that the signal
remains red till the train crosses the
next signal (advance starter).
In this particular crash the Kalindi
Express had failed to cross the advance
starter. It stands to reason that the
starter signal should have remained
red for the benefit of the oncoming train.
Only a fair inquiry would
reveal the real reason behind this
gruesome tragedy. But as often
happens on such occasions, the
likely out-come, as 'senior railway
officials' had indicated, has been to
hold responsible a petty railway
employee, in this case the cabin switchman.