Trains collision in Andhra a near repeat of Odisha rail disaster

Visakhapatnam: The collision between two trains in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district appears to be a repeat of the ghastly train disaster in Odisha nearly five months ago.

Both the collisions involved two passenger trains and a goods train.

At least 14 passengers were killed and over 50 injured in Sunday’s collision between Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger and Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger near Kantakapalli junction in Kothavalasa ‘mandal’ (block).

Derailed coaches rammed into a goods train moving on an adjacent track. This added to the impact of the collision.

According to railway officials, overshooting of Signal by Visakhapatnam- Rayagada passenger train led to the collision. Human error is the likely reason for the accident, they said.

The collision took place 150 km from Odisha, which had witnessed one of the worst train tragedies in the country’s history nearly five months ago. As many as 295 passengers were killed and scores of others were injured in the triple train crash on June 2 near the Bahanaga Bazar station. The Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express had entered the loop line, instead of the main line, and crashed into a goods train parked on the loop line. Such was the impact of the collision that coaches of Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express on the adjacent track were derailed.

Railway officials had then said lapses in the signalling- circuit-alteration at North Signal Goomty station caused the Coromandel Express to enter the loop line and resulted in the rear-collision.

In Sunday’s accident in Vizianagaram district, Visakhapatnam-Rayagada (08504) rammed into Visakhapatnam-Palasa (08532), which was waiting for signal. The loco of Rayagada passenger train and the guard coach of Palasa passenger were badly mangled in the collision. Under the impact of the collision, a couple of coaches of the Rayagada train climbed on the locomotive. These coaches then rammed into a goods train passing on the adjacent track.

Two coaches of the Palasa train also rammed into the goods train. A total of eight coaches of two passenger trains and the goods train were involved in the crash.

About 1,400 passengers were travelling in these two passenger trains. As the crash site was five kilometers away from Vizianagaram-Kothavalasa highway, rescue workers had a tough time in shifting the injured to ambulances. Darkness also hampered the rescue work by police, local authorities and railway personnel.

The train for Palasa (in Srikakulam district) had departed from Visakhapatnam at 5.45 p.m. Fifteen minutes later, the train for Rayagada (Odisha) had also departed on the same track. An hour later, the two trains collided.

Some passengers of Palasa train said the train was moving slowly from Kantakapalli Station and after covering some distance had stopped for the signal.

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