LAHORE: A probe has been launched into the Karachi Express train accident near Sukkur early on Sunday under the federal government inspector of railways (FGIR) who has been asked to submit a report to the railways ministry within 48 hours.
A brief preliminary report has identified “poor condition of the track” as the main reason for the accident that left a woman dead and about 13 passengers injured.
Meanwhile, the operation to clear the affected track of debris was completed 50 per cent 16 hours after the accident. The work started at 3am on Saturday night and continued till filing of this report on Sunday night.
According to railway officials, all the up and down passenger trains, which become late by 10 to 16 hours beyond their schedules due the accident, have finally reached their destinations. Train operations were badly delayed due to the accident.
Divisional Commercial Officer, PR, Sukkur, Hameedullah, said that around 300-400ft of up-county track was damaged in the accident, which was being rehabilitated. He said the one-line train operation was launched for passage of trains that had left Lahore or Karachi.
According to an official, the preliminary report states that the couplings broke due to the dilapidated rail track, leading to derailing of the running coaches. Since the fishplates of the rail track also broke, the speeding may also be one of the reasons for the accident. The driver of the ill-fated Karachi Express claimed that he was running the train under the law.
Train Drivers Association chairman Shams Pervaiz said the accident apparently happened due to breaking of the rail track. “The engine and seven coaches (1 to 7) had crossed (the track) without any issue. But the passenger coaches (8 to 14) derailed and fell on the ground, nine feet down to the track.”
Mr Pervaiz accused the officers concerned of not paying attention to rehabilitation of the tracks.
Published in Dawn, March 8th, 2021