Railways probe terms pedestrians responsible for Tarnol accident

Updated 02 Aug 2020

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Official says the three women tried to cross the track in haste even though they had seen the train approaching. -- AFP/File
Official says the three women tried to cross the track in haste even though they had seen the train approaching. -- AFP/File

LAHORE: Crossing the railway track in haste despite seeing the approaching train at Rawalpindi-Multan line was a main reason for the death of a woman and injury to another on Thursday afternoon, according to a preliminary inquiry conducted by a team of the Pakistan Railways.

The report endorsed by the Rawalpindi division rail officers has also been shared with the top authorities of the PR’s Lahore headquarters, Dawn has learnt.

A senior official, sharing details of the tragedy that had prompted the angry mob to attack the train’s locomotive and coaches by pelting them with stones, termed the incident negligence on the part of the two women and a teenage girl.

“All these three women were the residents of a locality situated near Tarnol Railway Station across the road and the track/branch line. They first crossed the main road and then reached near the track. Though they had seen the train heading towards them at a very short distance (around 10 feet), they tried to cross the track in haste,” PR’s Rawalpindi Divisional Superintendent Syed Munawar Shah told Dawn on Friday.

While quoting the internal inquiry report, Mr Shah said the first woman succeeded in crossing the track while the second one partially came under the train. And the third one that was following the second and got confused due to fear and sat in the middle of track. Resultantly, the first one narrowly escaped the accident while the second one lost her legs. “The last one died on the spot as the train had run over her body,” he added.

Mr Shah said the rescue officials had immediately shifted the injured woman and the deceased’s body to a public hospital.

“I don’t know at the moment whether the injured woman is alive or not,” Munawar Shah said.

To a question, he said the train speed was not more than 25km per hour when the accident happened.

‘The driver applied brakes to save them but couldn’t since the distance was too short-- just around 10 feet,” he added. “He (the driver) also whistled many times.

Accidents at the railway tracks continue witnessing a rising trend for the last one year or so. During the last 45 days alone, several people lost their lives while crossing the rail tracks on foot or travelling by vehicles. During the first week of July, 22 people, including 20 Sikh pilgrims, were killed and many others were injured when a train rammed into a passenger coach at the railway track passing through Sucha Sauda in Sheikhupura district.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2020