New Delhi: Indian Railways recorded a derailment every fifth day on an average during the period of 2007-12, according to an RTI query.
As per the figures, 115 people lost their lives, while 800 were left injured in these 400 derailments registered between April 1, 2007 to March 31, 2012, which translates to about an accident every fifth day.
Maximum number of derailments occurred during 2007-08 when 100 such accidents were reported in which 13 passengers were killed while 145 were injured.
A little less such accidents were reported in 2008-09 when 85 derailments claimed 10 lives and left 142 injured. In 2009-10, 80 derailments claimed 14 lives and left 91 injured, the RTI reply received by Moradabad-based Salim Beg said.
In 2010-11, 80 derailments caused four deaths and left 55 injured while in 2011-12, 55 derailments caused 74 deaths and left 367 injured, it said.
The data in 2011-12 referred to a major incident, which took place when Delhi-bound Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Fatehpur which alone killed 71 people and injured 268 persons.
“Safety is accorded the highest priority by Indian Railways and possible steps are undertaken on a continual basis to prevent accidents and to enhance safety,” V D Sharma, the Public Information Officer said in the response.
The officer said Railways has taken number of measures to prevent derailments which include user of pre-stressed concrete as sleepers on tracks and standardisation of railway tracks to reduce fatigue of rails under higher axle-load traffic.
The response said Railway has started using long-rail panels to minimise number of welded joints thus reducing risk of derailments besides all the rails and welds are being ultrasonically tested as per laid down periodicity.
The RTI reply said Railways is also using modern track maintenance machines namely tie tamping, ballast cleaning machines, track recording cards, digital ultrasonic flaw detectors, self-propelled ultrasonic rail-testing cars, among others to avoid such derailments.
It said Railways is also starting to manufacture coaches with centre buffer couplers with anti-climbing features to minimise effects of accidents.
The organisation is also doing electronic monitoring of track geometry to detect defects and planning maintenance accordingly to reduce these accidents, it said.