Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Hampi Express collides with stationery train near Penneconda


It is a historic place, identified with Kishkindha, the ancient Vanara (monkey) kingdom associated with Ramayana.

Indian Railways serve millions every day.  The trains though have 5 digit nos. are better identified by their names.  The names are often interesting and are named after important places, rivers, and often destinations  - and sometimes, the trains are in the public eye for wrong reasons – because of accidents.  Now ‘Hampi Express’ is in news – as collision with a goods train has killed at least 24 people and more than equal number injured.  There are train accidents which we read with concern and after a few months things are forgotten.  

Hampi is a village in northern Karnataka state, located within the ruins of Vijayanagara, the former capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.  The name Hampi reportedly is  derived from Pampa, which is the old name of the Tungabhadra River on whose banks the city is built.

Hampi Express  connects Bangalore and Hubli, and  is a popular option to reach Hampi from Bangalore. The train passes via Hospet, the nearest railway station for Hampi. Both the up and down journeys the train covers in the night.  Hampi Express (Train number 16592) leaves Bangalore for Hubli at 9.00 PM from the Bangalore City station (SBC). It reachesHospet (HPT) by about 7 AM. On the return journey the train (Train number 16591) leaves Hospet by 8.25 in the evening and reaches Bangalore by 6 in the morning.

Sadly, the Bangalore-bound Hampi Express crashed into the stationary goods train at Penneconda railway station early on 22nd May 2012.  Four coaches were derailed and one of them caught fire, reports say.  A BBC reports states that most of them died in the fire that broke out in one of the coaches.  A railway official was quoted as saying that  most of the victims were labourers who were travelling to Bangalore from Bellary and Hospet in neighbouring Karnataka state.  There are fears that more could have been trapped inside.  

There are reports that the driver could have overshot the signal – whether it was human error or a system failure, train ramming into a stationary train should not have happened in the modern day with so many gadgets assistance.  Hundreds of valuable human lives are lost in accidents and the safety continues to be a low priority area.  

Way back in Nov. 1956, a ghastly train accident occurred in Ariyalur near Trichy in Tamilnadu when 100s of passengers were feared dead  -  and immediately after the accident Lal Bahadur Shastri resigned as Railway Minister…….. a resignation may not change the fate of the victims, but sure sign that someone takes responsibility and expresses concern in ensuring that such things do not repeat themselves.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
Accident photos : courtesy : bbc.co.uk

1 comment:

  1. I have a neighbour working in railways. He stays most of the time in his house. He goes to office and within an hour he will comeback. Some railway staff are not doing their job. They are there only for the salary. Who cares safety. A big peracentage of officials are not doing their job properly in India.

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