Bhubaneswar, India (Report CNN) – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to inaugurate a new high-speed train, the Vande Bharat Express, on Saturday, part of his government’s massive investment in modernizing the country’s sprawling railway network and other infrastructure. is as
But, instead, they traveled to the site of one of the worst rail accidents in the country’s history to pay their respects.
More than 280 people were killed and more than 1,000 injured in a three-way crash involving two passenger trains and a freight train in eastern Odisha state on Friday, officials said.
The fatal crash in the city of Balasore has reverberated across India, now the world’s most populous country, prompting authorities to confront safety problems in a railway system that carries more than 13 million passengers a day. takes away While the government recently spent millions of rupees to upgrade the system, years of neglect have left the tracks to deteriorate.
Traffic signaling failure
The cause of Friday’s accident is still unclear, but senior state railway officials told CNN that it is suspected to have been caused by a traffic signaling failure.
Officials said the Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express entered a track where a goods train was stopped and collided with it, causing several coaches to fall onto the opposite track. Another train – Howrah Express from Yeswantpur to Howrah – hit the bogies at high speed and derailed.
A superintendent of a train station in Odisha state explained on Saturday that the signaling failure could be due to either a technical fault or human error, as traffic signals are often handled by officials at each station.
Railways Minister Ashwini Vishnu told reporters on Saturday that a “high-level inquiry” into the accident had been ordered to find out what caused the accident.
We cannot bring back those we have lost but the government is with them in their grief. This incident is very serious for the government … whoever is found guilty will be punished severely,” Modi said, adding that the government “will leave no stone unturned.”