The Railway Ministry has sent out an alert that rail fractures and weld failures have become a threat to the safety of train operations, and called for the immediate intervention of top officials to detect such failures and avert hazards.
In a note to General Managers of Zonal Railways on Wednesday, the Railway Board said rail fracture and weld failure had emerged as a “major area of concern for the rail safety”.
In the last three years, five derailments, including two consequential accidents, had occurred due to rail fracture/weld failure.
A review of the pre-winter precaution measures across the railway network revealed that almost all the Zonal Railways had backlogs/deficiencies in de-stressing long weld railways or continuous weld rail or maintenance of fish plates.
Separate alerts were sent to the respective authorities to remove the deficiencies. “It is imperative to take special attention/precaution to prevent rail fracture/weld failure, especially during the winter season, so that accidents on this account can be prevented,” the note said.
In a separate communication, the Railway Board expressed concern that Zonal Railways were reporting late or not reporting accidents or unusual incidents, including those resulting in injury (of passengers, general public and railway staff).
The information on such incidents was received by the Railway Board and apex offices from other sources such as social media and not from Zonal Railways.