One of the major routes of rail transport between Tamil Nadu and Karnataka, the Chennai-Mangalore Express covers almost a thousand kilometers to connect 52 stations and serves thousands of people every single day.
On 4th September, in the early hours before sunrise, the passengers on board the Chennai – Mangalore Express (16859) were little aware of what was in stock for them. At about 2 am, four out of the 21 bogies jumped the tracks when the train neared Cuddalore. Fortunately, unlike in several other train derailment accidents, there were no casualties. 39 were left injured in the wake of the accident. Authorities are still looking into the possible cause of this accident.
This mishap leaves open the question of safety of the rail transport system in general. This is not an isolated incident. Here is a brief chronology of a few rail accidents that occurred since earlier this year:
13 February 2015 : Bangalore City-Ernakulam Intercity Express (12677) derailed. 12 dead and 100 reported injured.
1 March 2015 : Ernakulam-Hazrat Nizamuddin Mangala Lakshadweep Express (12617) derailed. None injured.
20 March 2015 : Dehradun-Varanasi Janta Express (14266) derailed. 39 dead and 150 injured.
25 May 2015 : Muri Express (18109) derailed . 4 dead and more than 50 injured.
4 August 2015 : Mumbai-Varanasi Kamayani Express (11071) and Janata Express derailed. At least 35 dead and 25 injured.
24 August 2015 – Bangalore-Nanded Express (16594) rammed into by a lorry. 5 dead and about 25 injured.
A few weeks ago, the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) released data on the number of Indians who were killed in railway related accidents in 2014. NCRB’s data shows that there were a total of 28,360 railway accidents in India in 2014 in which 25,006 people died and 3,882 were injured. Out of these, 190 deaths, the NCRB shows, were due to train collisions, derailments and fire accidents. In comparison to those in 2013, railway accident cases have actually decreased by 9.2%.
Having one of the world’s largest rail networks, these accidents have become commonplace in India due to negligence of traffic rules or improper maintenance of infrastructure. Prevention of accidents can be possible only with increased vigilance and maintenance.