Stop, look, proceed: Railway order for trains coming after signal repair

The first train will be stopped and then allowed to run through after ensuring safety

Updated - June 11, 2023 02:03 pm IST

Published - June 11, 2023 06:00 am IST - CHENNAI

Railway signals are pictured at a crossing as a woman walks on the tracks at the site of a train collision following the accident in Balasore district in Odisha

Railway signals are pictured at a crossing as a woman walks on the tracks at the site of a train collision following the accident in Balasore district in Odisha | Photo Credit: Reuters

In a move which would imply that the devastating multiple train collision in Odisha was indeed caused by a signalling error, the Ministry of Railways has issued an order directing General Managers of all Zonal Railways to stop the first train approaching a station where signal repair work is completed and allow it to pass after ensuring safety.

The decision follows the tragic train accident Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore Division of Southern Eastern Railway where the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Superfast Express entered the loop line though the signal was apparently cleared for main line passage, and rammed into a stationary goods train that left 288 passengers dead and over 900 injured.

Also read |The trauma after a tragedy on tracks

In the new guidelines issued on Saturday, the Railway Board said staff of the Signal and Telecommunication Department should strictly follow proper disconnection/reconnection protocols while taking up maintenance or repair works. The Station Master where the maintenance/repair work is proposed should give permission for the same.

After reconnection (of the signalling system) is accepted by the Station Master on completion of the work, the first train to pass on the Main Line in both directions should be stopped at the Reception or Outer Signal. “It will be allowed to approach the station at a slow speed. After ensuring that the train has entered the intended path, the Station Master will allow its passage by clearing the Departure or Starter Signal. The rule will be applicable for all Up and Down trains, including trains like the Vande Bharat, Rajdhani and Shatabdi Expresses,” a senior Indian Railways officer told The Hindu.

The Railway Board order reiterated its earlier instructions that Relay Rooms and Goomties or Relay Huts should be secured with double locks or Digitised Locks with the Station Master holding one key and the signaling staff the other.

“Till double locking arrangement is provided, the key of single lock of relay huts/goomties/cabins should be with Station Master. The relevant entries regarding issue and deposit of the key should be maintained by the Station Master in the same manner as being done for station relay room,” the order said.

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