Express train overshoots red signal by 500 metres, crew suspended

Passengers of the Tata Nagar-bound Danapur-Tata express were left stranded for hours after the train overshot the red signal at Hatidah Junction falling under Danapur rail division of the Eastern Central Railway on Saturday morning.

The train overshot the red signal, technically known as Signal Passing at Danger (SPAD), by 500 metres leading to suspension of the loco pilot and the assistant loco pilot as per the railway safety protocol.

“The loco pilot and assistant loco pilot were immediately put under suspension for crossing the danger signal while driving an express train which left for its destination with different crew”, CPRO said.

The incident caused a huge alarm. The standard procedure for a SPAD is to detain the driver, conduct his blood test to ascertain whether he was under the influence of alcohol or drugs and to question him about the cause. SPAD is an offence which can lead to the loco pilot and the assistant loco pilot being discharged from service.

It is not yet to be ascertained whether the incident occurred because of poor brakes or if the loco pilot (LP) and assistant loco pilot (ALP) forgot to stop the train.

According to the ECR official, incidents of platform overshooting occur when the loco pilot does not apply brakes at the right time. In some cases, this can happen if the train crew is engrossed in talks with the fellow personnel. The train usually gains high speed after leaving Mokama junction and as a result, some of its coaches, or the entire train, could have overshot the station by a distance. The distance between the two stations is just 8kms.

“Such incidents are taken very seriously by the railways and there is a protocol to be followed. In such cases, the station master alerts supervisors who have to measure the distance overshot. Also, the loco pilot has to be questioned and other details are noted before the train can resume its journey,“ said Rajesh Kumar, chief public relations officer, ECR.

He informed that ECR initiated a high level enquiry comprising a four-member team of top officials — senior divisional operating manager, divisional mechanical engineer, senior divisional safety officer and divisional electrical engineer. They will submit the final report within a stipulated period.

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