LAHORE: A high-level inquiry team in its preliminary report has held the driver and his assistant responsible for the June 20 train crash near the Hyderabad railway station.
Since the driver and the assistant driver of Jinnah express and a guard had lost their lives in the accident, the initial probe was done on the basis of site visits, interaction with available witnesses, analysis of evidence, scrutiny of stations’ record, motor trolley, footplate inspections, analysis of automatic signaling system etc.
“The preliminary inquiry concludes that the collision of 31-Up Jinnah Express in rear of the goods train between Kotri and Hyderabad stations was caused owing to overspeeding and non-observance of signals by the driver. Accordingly, Mr Muhammad Chandio, driver (late) and Mr Yasir Bashir, Assistant Driver (Late) are held responsible for the subject collision,” reads the report.
FGIR report notes ‘defective operating planning’ by PR’s Karachi control office
Besides loss of precious lives of the driver, assistant driver and spare assistant driver travelling in the Jinnah express’s locomotive and serious injuries to the guard of the goods train, engine and some wagons of the ill-fated trains also derailed and damaged badly, adds the report, which was compiled by the team headed by the Federal Government Inspector of Railways (FGIR). The report says that during the trolley and footplate inspections, the signals were apparently found changing aspects as per order and no discrepancy was noticed except non-visibility of the outer signals from sighting distance boards for both Up and Down lines of Kotri and Hyderabad stations. For the Hyderabad station, the Up outer signal is not visible to any driver of the Up train either from the last Up auto signal or SD board. There used to be a level crossing just short of Up SD board of Hyderabad station in the past that has been dismantled after construction of road over the bridge. “Overall, the examination and analysis of the signalizing system between Kotri-Hyderabad were found not to have played any role in this collision. Hence, this cause is ruled out,” it reads.
The team also checked the factor of a possible terror activity used in the June 20 collision. “The available evidence and discussion with some of key witnesses suggests that this accident occurred owing to overspeeding, which should have not exceeded 15km per hour, and non-observance of auto signals by the driver of Jinnah express,”
The report also notes defective operating planning by the Karachi control office as one of the causes behind the accident.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2019