The train driver of the Kalinga Utkal Express applied sudden brakes as he spotted repair works on the tracks, leading to the derailment, was told. Railway sources have another version: “He felt a jerk and realised that the derailment had happened. He couldn’t apply the brake. According to him either the soil beneath the track was loose due to rains or the railways didn’t do periodic ultrasonic fault detection of tracks.”
Scene of the accident, near Muzaffarnagar district
More than 80 people were injured inthe train which had been heading to the Hindu holy city of Haridwar. Railway police and local residents were working together to rescue the stranded passengers but conditions were very difficult because some of the carriages are piled on top of each other and others have overturned. India has the world’s fourth-largest rail network but a struggling infrastructure. In June, it was revealed that a major safety overhaul had been delayed because the state steel company could not meet demand for new rails.Railway minister Suresh Prabhu ordered an inquiry into the derailment. Less than a year ago, 146 people were killed in Uttar Pradesh after 14 carriages of a passenger train came off the tracks. India has pledged to build high-speed railways using Japanese bullet train technology and focusing on New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Chennai, with the help of £9.3bn in soft loans from Japan.