Runaway Train: Tongi station master at fault
The station master of Tongi Railway Station did not follow due procedure, resulting in a runaway train and its derailment on Sunday, discovered a probe body.
Four people had died as they jumped off the runaway train in panic.
The probe committee said the causality happened as the passengers, who were travelling on the roof of carriages, jumped off.
“We will first suspend the station master and other legal actions would be taken against him later,” Amzad Hossain, director general of Bangladesh Railway, told The Daily Star last night, hours after he received the probe report.
The Daily Star could not reach Station Master Md Halimuzzaman for comments.
Four carriages of Dhaka-bound Jamalpur commuter train got detached and began to run away a few minutes after the train left Tongi Railway Station on Sunday.
People on the roof and inside the carriages jumped off in Natunbazar area, resulting in casualties. Two of the carriages also derailed. Three passengers died on the spot while another was declared dead at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. At least 26 others were injured.
On that day, the railway had formed a three-member probe committee and asked it to submit its report within three days. The committee submitted the report yesterday.
Amzad said the committee gave several observations about the incident and one of them was that a good number of people was travelling on the roofs of carriages.
There might not have been any casualties had they not jumped, he said, citing the report.
The station master is largely responsible, he said, adding that there were problems in the signalling system a day before the accident. As per the railway rules, the station master was given a memo on how to run the station in the changed situation.
“But he did not follow the due procedure,” the DG said.
The station master had altered the set of points (railroad switch) when the train was passing it. This disconnected carriages from the locomotive, he said.
The station master had also failed to lock the set of points, Amzad said.
Asked about travelling on roofs, he said, “Our mobile courts have already started drives against travelling on roofs and we won't allow anyone to travel that way.”