Chennai: Irked parents of victims of the rail accident at St Thomas Mount railway on Tuesday blamed the irregularity of trains as the sole reason for the incident.
A student, travelling on the train, said the train from Chennai Beach to Thirumalpur only came once every hour and this one was delayed due to maintenance work near Kodambakkam.
The train, expected to depart from Beach at 7.05 am only left at 7.45 am, he said. Because of this delay, the crowd multiplied and everyone was in a hurry to get to work, said Uday Kumar, brother of Naresh Kumar, 20, who was injured in the accident.
Naresh was heading to Alandur where he worked at a men’s salon when the incident occurred.
Naresh received some injuries to his head and has fractured his left leg, Uday said.
Another injured victim, Mohammed Yazar, works at a logistics company in Guindy. He sustained severe head injuries and fractured his right hand on impact.
“A CT scan has been taken at the Rajiv Gandhi Government Hospital but he is conscious so we are hoping we can go home soon,” said his friend Sharif.
Aggrieved family members of the four who died in the accident were unable for comment but other passengers on the train were agitated, some even protested at the station.
“They ask us to take the bus if the trains are crowded but then they hike prices. These trains are only what I can afford on my student budget,” says Sharif.
Wall too close to rail track
St Thomas Mount Railway station has become a death trap – thanks to wall and pillar of the foot overbridge, constructed too close to the rail track.
A retired railway official, on the condition of anonymity, elucidated that according to railway norms, posts, pillar, walls and other structure should be placed at 2.2 metres away from the middle of railway tracks. “In the case of St Thomas Mount railway station, the wall and the pillar are located too close just over 1 meter. Even if the railway ADGP asked the railway to remove the wall and pillar, Southern Railway would not be able to remove them without the permission of Research Designs and Standards Organisation (RDSO),” the retired official added.
Railway ADGP C. Sylendra Babu, after inspecting the St Thomas Mount railway station, said that the police would ask the railway to remove the structure and retrain from operating local trains on the fourth line. “Passengers should avoid travelling on steps. If the trains are crowded, use buses or other modes of transport,” he said.
Meanwhile, senior divisional security commissioner of Chennai division Louis Amudhan said a total of 739 awareness campaigns against footboard travel has been conducted during the year 2018.
“On running trains, we do not check footboard travel because some commuters may jump from the train,” he added.