Published On: Wed, Aug 8th, 2018

Locomotive driver and three others interdicted over train collision in Panaliya

The services of the driver, assistant, guard and assistant guard of the train which collided onto the rear end of another train in Panaliya have been temporarily suspended until the three-member committee appointed to look into the incident submits its report. 32 people were injured in the collision which took place last evening.

The office train plying from Colombo Fort to Kandy had stopped close to the Panaliya Railway Station in between Polgahawela and Rambukkana due to a technical fault. The train had been stopped around a kilometer away from the Panaliya Railway Station.

The accident occurred when the power set plying from Colombo Fort to Rambukkana collided onto the rear end of the stationary train. Signals from Colombo Fort to Pallewala are activated from the Fort Main Control Room. The responsibility of activating the signals for the remainder of the train’s journey from Pallewala lies with the Polgahawela Railway Station.

According to the Operating Superintendent of the Department of Railways A.D.G. Seneviratne, the facts they have uncovered so far reveal that the power set bearing the number 164 had received the amber signal from the Polgahawela Railway Station.

He said the driver, after receiving the amber signal, should steer with caution and be ready to stop if he receives a red signal ahead. However, the department’s findings have revealed that the power set moved 14 meters past the red signal before crashing into the rear end of the number 35 train.

Chairman of the Locomotive Engine Operators’ Union Lal Paranavithana speaking about the incident said they cannot say there was a fault in the signals.

Meanwhile, a three-member committee has been appointed and has launched an investigation into the incident on the orders of the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation. Issuing a communique, the Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation said the Minister had issued instructions to take disciplinary action against anyone found guilty in the incident irrespective of positions.

In the release, the Minister has said that it is saddening to see the trust placed on the railway service by the public being damaged due to the actions of negligent employees.

Repair work on the Upcountry Railway line which was damaged in the collision was completed by this evening. Until repairs were completed, only one line was in operation.

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