Vizianagaram: A human error is likely to have caused the train collision on the Howrah-Chennai line in Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh on Sunday evening, a senior railway official said. The accident occurred when the Rayagada passenger train overshot a signal and hit the Palasa passenger train from behind at Kantakapalli, about 40 km from Visakhapatnam, around 7 p.m. Three coaches of the Palasa train derailed due to the impact, resulting in 13 deaths and 50 injuries.
The deceased included the driver of the Rayagada train, who was responsible for the accident, according to Biswajit Sahu, Chief Public Relations Officer at East Coast Railways. He said that the investigation is still on and the picture will be clearer only after that. The injured have been admitted to hospitals in Visakhapatnam and Vizianagaram. Some of them are in critical condition, according to Vizianagaram Collector S Nagalakshmi.
Expressing grief over the incident, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy announced an ex-gratia of Rs 10 lakh each to the families of the deceased and Rs 2 lakh each to the injured. He also directed the officials of the state to provide all possible assistance to those affected. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed condolences to the bereaved families and prayed that the injured recover soon. He announced Rs 2 lakh assistance for the families of those who died in the accident and Rs 50,000 for the injured.
The accident disrupted the rail traffic on the busy route, forcing the cancellation of 18 trains and the diversion of 22 trains. The relief and rescue operations on the track are likely to be completed by Monday evening. East Coast Railway (ECR) has set up a helpline to provide information related to the accident. Here is the list of trains which have been cancelled or diverted:
- Train No. 22852 Mangaluru Central-Santragachhi Express originating from Mangaluru on 28.10.2023 will run on the diverted route.
- On 29.10.2023, train number 12246 SMV Bengaluru-Howrah Duronto Express running from SMV Bengaluru will run on the diverted route.
- Train number 20890 Tirupati-Howrah Express running from Tirupati on 29.10.2023 will run on the diverted route.
- 12704 Secunderabad-Howrah Falaknuma Express running from Secunderabad on 29.10.2023 will run on the diverted route.
- On 29.10.2023, train number 12864 SMV Bengaluru-Howrah Express running from SMV Bengaluru will run on the diverted route.
- On 29.10.2023, train number 22305 SMV Bengaluru-Jasidih Express running from SMV Bengaluru will run on the diverted route.
- Train no. 22503 Kanyakumari-SMV Bengaluru running from Kanyakumari on 28.10.2023 will run on the diverted route.
- Train No. 12840 MGR Chennai Central-Howrah Mail running from MGR Chennai on 29.10.2023 will run on the diverted route.
- Train number 18048 running from Vasco da Gama on 29.10.2023 will run on the diverted route.
- Train no. 22860 MGR Chennai Central-Puri Express was cancelled on 30th October.
- Train no. 17244 Rayagada-Guntur Express was also cancelled.
- Train no. 17240 Visakhapatnam-Guntur Express will remain cancelled on 31st October.