Chattala Driver Responsible: Initial Probe
Thursday, 09 December 2010

Initial probe into Wednesday's train crash in Narsinghdi that left at least 14 people dead finds the loco master of Chattala Express responsible for the accident.

Head of a four-member probe committee Eusuf Ali told "The Chattala loco master Rafiq Uddin left the main tracks and entered the platform, ignoring the signal."

Ali said the accident could have been avoided if the Chattala Express had been able to reduce its speed.

When the Dhaka-bound Chattala Express entered the platform, the Chittagong-bound Mahanagar Godhuli Express was running in the opposite direction on the same tracks.

Tea peddler Afaz Mia, a witness to the fatal accident, told when the Godhuli Express was arriving at the station it was devastatingly hit by the Chattala Express, resulting in an immediate horror at the station.

The Chattala loco master, Rafiq, was also injured and admitted to the Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Probe committee members said they would quiz Rafiq later.

Authorities say that usually a train is supposed to limit its speed to 40-50km an hour on a main line adjacent to the station, and 10-16km an hour in case the line lays next to the platform. Witnesses claimed the Chattala Express was running nearly at a speed of 40-45km an hour as it entered the platform.

When contacted at the Dhaka Medical College Hospital, loco master Rafiq told that he was not shown any signal.

Asked if there was an error in the signalling, probe committee chief Eusuf said Narshingdi station has an automatic signal system which is not supposed to misdirect the driver. However, he said that still they had to examine the signal records.

Rafiq said he saw the Godhuli Express when it was only 150-200 ft away and he tried his best to reduce the speed of his train, which was running at 70km an hour at that moment.

Rafiq fell unconscious immediately after the accident. Godhuli Express loco master Zahurul Haque, however, died on the spot.

The Narsinghdi station has three separate lines, but the platform-line, emerging from the main line, reconnects again to the main line like a bypass.

It is believed that when the Godhuli Express was arriving at the platform, the Chattala Express was on the main line and shown a red signal, but it entered the platform line seeing the red light on the main line.

Apart from the railway probe committee, the communications ministry and Narshingdi district administration formed two separate probe committees for their own independent investigation into the incident.


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