The death toll in Friday's train accident in Odisha's Balasore has climbed to 288, a railway official said. Three trains -- Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and a goods train -- were involved in the accident, one of the worst railway tragedies in the country. Luckily, the engine drivers and guards of two trains were safe and were injured in the Odisha triple train accident and are being treated in different hospitals, a railway official said on Saturday.
The engine driver and the guard of the goods trains, however, escaped unhurt, the official added. Coromandel Express's loco pilot and his assistant as well as the guard and Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express's guard were on the injured list. "The loco pilot, assistant loco pilot and the guard of Coromandel Express and the guard of the Bengaluru-Howrah Express are being treated in different hospitals," senior divisional commercial manager of South Eastern Railway's Kharagpur division, Rajesh Kumar, said.
What happened on Friday?
The goods train was stationed in a loop line beside the tracks through which the Coromandel Express was passing when it got derailed and some of its coaches fell on it. Friday night’s accident killed at least 261 people and injured more than 900, in one of the worst railway tragedies in the country.
The train crash, the fourth deadliest in India according to available records, happened near the Bahanaga Bazar station in Balasore district, about 250 km south of Kolkata and 170 km north of Bhubaneswar, prompting the Railway Ministry to order a probe.
What actually went wrong with ill-fated Coromandel Express
Preliminary investigations have revealed that the Coromandel Express train involved in a horrific rail tragedy in Odisha on Friday entered the loop line and crashed into a goods train parked there instead of the main line just ahead of the Bahanagar Bazar station. The coaches of Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express capsized after crashing into the coaches of Coromandel Express that had scattered on the adjacent track. While Coromandel Express was at a speed of 128 kmph, Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express was running at a speed of 116 kmph.
The report has been submitted to the Railway Board, according to news agency PTI sources. The loop lines of the Indian Railways are constructed in a station area -- in this case, the Bahanagar Bazar station -- to accommodate more trains to ease out the operations. The loop lines are generally 750 metres in length to accommodate full-length goods train with multiple engines.
(With inputs from agency)