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HomeNewsAndhra Pradesh Train Accident: At Least 13 Confirmed Dead

Andhra Pradesh Train Accident: At Least 13 Confirmed Dead

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In a major incident that unfolded on the evening of October 29, 2023, another major train collision occurred in Andhra Pradesh, just months after the Balasore train accident in Odisha. This time, it was in the Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh, where a collision between two passenger trains left a trail of devastation, claiming the lives of at least 13 people and injuring roughly 50 others, as per multiple reports.

Possible Causes: As of now, no official statements have been released regarding the exact cause of the train collision. However, according to reports from the Times of India, the accident may have occurred when the Visakhapatnam-Palasa train was transitioning from the main track to a side track. Simultaneously, the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada train, which was traveling on the main track, rear-ended the other train. This unfortunate chain of events led to the derailment of the last three coaches and severe damage to two of them. However, The Vizianagaram Superintendent of Police, Deepika Patil, has spoken to Times of India saying “Four coaches of the Rayagada passenger train were involved.” The Indian Express has quoted a Top Minister of Railway Official saying the following about the cause: “He crossed the red signal. It was a rear-end collision. The local train at the front was at a very low speed, almost crawling,” Officials Response to the Accident: Multiple reports suggest that local residents of the nearby Kantakapalli village played a crucial role in initiating relief and rescue operations. They quickly pulled out trapped passengers and transported the injured to nearby hospitals. However, the rescue efforts were impeded by the pitch-dark conditions. To overcome this challenge, authorities deployed emergency lights to assist the police, railway personnel, and other officials involved in the rescue effort. The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) teams were swiftly mobilized, and ambulances were dispatched from Anakapalli and Visakhapatnam to attend to the injured. Some of the injured passengers were transferred to government hospitals in Kothavalasa and KG Hospital in Visakhapatnam. Special medical teams were formed to provide immediate treatment to the injured.

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Relief Funds by the Government: Moreover, government officials have swiftly announced financial assistance to the victims and their families. • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced financial support of ₹2 lakh from the PM’s National Relief Fund for the next of kin of each deceased individual and ₹50,000 for those injured in the Andhra Pradesh train accident.

• Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw also extended assistance with an ex-gratia payment of ₹10 lakh for the families of the deceased, ₹2 lakh for grievous injuries, and ₹50,000 for minor injuries.

• Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy instructed state officials to provide ₹10 lakh each to the kin of the deceased and ₹2 lakh each to the injured from the state.

Cancellation of Trains: In a recent response to the passenger train accident in Andhra Pradesh, the Southern Railway announced the cancellation of several train services to ensure passenger safety. As per reports from Live Mint, the affected train services include: 17243- Guntur to Rayagada 17239-Guntur to Visakhapatnam 17267-Kakinada Port to Visakhapatnam 17268- Visakhapatnam to Kakinada Port 07466- Rajahmundry to Visakhapatnam 07467- Visakhapatnam to Rajahmundry 12718- Vijayawada to Visakhapatnam 12717- Visakhapatnam to Vijayawada You can keep track of further announcements of any other train cancellations or delays due to the Andhra Pradesh train accident on the official X handle of Southern Central Railway (Here: https://twitter.com/SCRailwayIndia).

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Reflecting on Recent Major Train Disasters in India: June 2 2023: A devastating incident occurred on June 2, 2023, involving the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express, the Howrah-bound Shalimar Express, and a goods train. The collision resulted in the loss of at least 295 lives, with 176 passengers sustaining grievous injuries, 451 suffering simple injuries, and 180 receiving first-aid treatment before being released.

October 19, 2018: On October 19, 2018, a large gathering had assembled near the railway tracks in Amritsar, Punjab, to celebrate the Hindu festival Dussehra. As the celebrations were in full swing, a speeding train ran through the crowd, resulting in the loss of over 60 lives and injuries to many more. The accident drew widespread public outrage and raised questions about safety measures around railway tracks during festivals and public events.

November 20, 2016: On November 20, 2016, the Indore-Patna Express derailed near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, leading to a catastrophic train accident. The derailment resulted in the deaths of more than 140 passengers and left over 150 severely injured. Measures the Indian Railways already has in place to reduce accidents:

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Rashtriya Rail Sanraksha Kosh (RRSK): Established in 2017-18 with a corpus of Rs 1 lakh crore over five years, RRSK is a safety fund dedicated to critical safety-related works. This fund aims to improve the safety of railway infrastructure.

Technological Upgrades: Indian Railways has worked on improving the design and features of coaches and wagons. This includes introducing Modified Centre Buffer Couplers, Bogie Mounted Air Brake System (BMBS), enhanced suspension design, and the provision of Automatic fire & smoke detection systems in coaches. The installation of KAVACH, an Automatic Train Protection (ATP) system, further said to improve safety.

GPS-based Fog Pass Device: This device aids loco pilots in navigating during foggy conditions. The device alerts the loco pilot with a loud buzzer when nearing a signal or gate, helping avoid accidents in low visibility.

Ultrasonic Flaw Detection (USFD): Indian Railways employs USFD, a non-destructive testing method that uses high-frequency sound waves to inspect rails for cracks, defects, or flaws. By identifying and replacing faulty rails, this technique is said to help prevent derailments and accidents.

Mechanization of Track Maintenance: The system of track maintenance has been mechanized to enhance efficiency and safety. This effort was said to reduce human errors and improve overall track quality and safety. Though accidents are unprecedented, the Andhra Pradesh train accident is a stark reminder of the critical need for stronger safety measures in the Indian railway system.

Sources: Times of India, Live Mint, The Hindu By: Ashbiha Fathima

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