LAHORE: Train accidents have come down in the first five months of the ongoing year if the data is compared to the eventualities occurring in the last two years.
From January to May 2020, 64 accidents, such as derailment and accidents of passenger and goods trains at manned or unmanned level crossings, were reported.
A spokesperson for the railway while comparing the data with the last year’s first five months stated from January to May 2021, accidents came down by 23 per cent in the last year’s corresponding period.
The spokesperson outlined the measures taken by the PR to prevent accidents, such as closing down 2,886 unauthorized passages on the track and under the track. Vehicles with high roofs have been stopped so that only small vehicles can pass through underpasses.“Up to 199 cases were registered against the people for breaching rules. In addition, 73 unmanned level crossings were also closed. There are another 70 unmanned crossings that will be upgraded soon,” the spokesperson explained.
The spokesperson said the PR prioritised the safety and security of its passengers and the people passing through the railway tracks.
“In this regard, a mass level awareness campaign is also being launched at the national level to raise awareness among the people about safety around the railway track.”In 2019 alone, over 100 train-related incidents took place. Besides this, 111 incidents of engine failure on the way were reported within the first five months of the year.
The main accidents, among over 100 of minor and major nature, included the derailment of eight wagons of a freight/container train near Rahim Yar Khan (Taranda) on April 1; derailment of a goods/container train near Padedan Station on May 18; derailment of Thal Express near Kundian on May 21; derailment of Jafar Express near Gujjar Khan on May 30; the fire incident in the running Jinnah Express dining car near Harappa (Sahiwal) on June 18; accident of Jinnah Express near Hyderabad on June 20; parting of Pakistan Express train in two parts near Khanewal on July 11; accident of Akbar Express and goods train at Walhar station on July 12; derailment of Zakariya Express and a goods train near Kotri and Rohri stations on July 23; Tezgam train fire tragedy on Oct 30; accident of Sargodha Express with a dumper truck on Dec 10 and derailment of Jinnah Express near Lahore Railway Station on Dec 17.
At least, 73 passengers lost their lives while over 100 were injured in the Tezgam fire incident alone.Similarly, 21 people were killed and about 85 were injured in the Akbar Express accident; three drivers died in Jinnah Express’s Hyderabad accident while some passengers too received injuries in this accident. The driver of Sargodha Express died after the train hit the dumper truck.
Similarly, in 2020 train accidents continued: collision between Sir Syed Express and a mini truck at an unauthorized level crossing/passage, and ramming of a train at an unmanned level crossing into a passenger coach near Sucha Soda, Up to 22 people died in the accidents.
Published in Dawn, June 2nd, 2021