On Monday, passenger and freight trains resumed operation at the site of India’s biggest train accident in decades, which officials say was caused by problems tied to signal systems. The accident claimed the lives of over 1,200 people.
At least 275 people were killed and hundreds more were injured in the catastrophe that occurred on Friday night near Balasore in the eastern state of Odisha. Trains rattled through the rubble of wrecked carriages that were caused by the crash.
The number of fatalities was previously reported by officials to be 288; however, the Odisha state government has now lowered the toll to 275 due to the fact that several bodies were accidentally counted twice.
On Sunday, the authorities reported that 382 of the 1,175 people who were injured were still being treated in hospitals.
However, many people are concerned that the number of fatalities may yet climb because medical facilities are struggling to treat the large number of injured people, many of whom are in critical condition.
The passengers on the train were protected from seeing the crumpled cars that had been forced down the embankment by the installation of green netting on either side of the tracks.
As the first train passed the scene of the accident late on Sunday, the Minister of Railways, Ashwini Vaishnaw, could be seen kneeling down with his hands folded in a prayer position.
The railways ministry reported that the first train, a cargo train filled with coal, resumed running 51 hours after the disaster occurred.
On Monday, trains were only allowed to use the lines on one side of the tracks since it was unclear whether or not all of the tracks had been completely restored.
– Overcrowded medical facilities –
There was some misunderstanding regarding the exact sequence of events that took place on Friday, but sources cited railway officials as stating that a signalling malfunction had caused the Coromandal Express to derail into a side track when it was traveling south from Kolkata to Chennai.
An express train that was traveling north from India’s IT hub Bengaluru to Kolkata was derailed as a result of the collision between it and a freight train.
Vaishnaw stated on Sunday that the collision was the result of a “change that occurred during electronic interlocking.” This is the technical word for a complicated signal system that is supposed to prevent trains from colliding by arranging the movement of the trains on the tracks. Vaishnaw stated that the collision took place as a result of the change.
“Whoever did it, and how it happened, will be found out after a proper investigation,” he said. “The investigation will find out how it happened.”
On Saturday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi traveled to the scene of the accident as well as the hospital where injured passengers were being treated. He vowed that “no one responsible” will be spared.
The individuals who were in the most critical condition were transferred to larger hospitals located in cities that were further away from the location of the crash. However, the primary government hospital in Balasore was continuing to provide medical care for a significant number of crash survivors.