Weld failures are inherent in rail transport, Central Railway general manager S.K. Sood said giving details of how Sunday’s derailment of a passenger train may have happened in Raigad district.
The death toll in the accident, meanwhile, has gone up to 22 and at least 60 persons were admitted to different hospitals with serious injuries, Mr. Sood said at his Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (CST) office on Tuesday evening.
According to Mr. Sood, at least 250-260 weld failures were detected every year. “It is caught visually (through manual patrolling),” he told presspersons. Though expert opinion was awaited, Mr. Sood strongly suggested that “weld failure” was responsible for Sunday’s accident.
The Railway official said that the particular rail track, in which the weld failure happened, was of 1992 vintage. It was classified as a “D class” rail.
Mr. Sood also revealed that the gangman patrolling the track was just a little short of the spot where the Diwa-Sawantwadi Road passenger train derailed.
According to him, manual checking of the rail tracks was the only viable option at the moment. Mr. Sood, however, said that reducing the portion of track gangmen had to inspect was one way of ensuring that such accidents did not happen again.
The Railway official also said he had seen “newspaper reports” that some hospitals had turned away victims of the train accident.
In response to a spate of questions from the press, Mr. Sood pointed out that in other countries helicopters were used to ferry injured persons to hospital.
Any emergency railway medical assistance could only be sent by rail, which also had to wait for doctors to come on board.