Mumbai: The railways will be calling in an independent nationally approved body to check the axle of the derailed fifth coach of the seven coaches on Western Railway (WR) to ensure neutrality in the investigation.
Currently, all the tests and inspections into the cause of the derailment have been carried out by the railways or other government services. Hence, the railways will be outsourcing the testing to a University in Delhi that teaches metallurgy and which has ample expertise in determining whether the axle had a material flaw or was not maintained.
Officials said that this would be vital for the investigation in the derailment of the seven coaches between Andheri and Vile Parle on September 15. “The commission of railway safety, which comes under the ministry of aviation, usually investigates derailments but in the case of the Andheri derailment is unique because for the first time the metallurgy of a part of the coach will make or break the cause behind the mishap,” said an official requesting anonymity.
Outsourcing it to a research centre or university would ensure that no bias enters the investigation, the official added. “Even though the railways has its own men who can tell us what went wrong, there are orders from the Railway Board to outsource the metallurgy test of the axle so that in the future no one will have the chance to say that the investigation was biased, “ said the official.
The axle of the fifth coach has been considered to be the cause behind the derailment since senior officials have felt that the alloy with which it was made might have not been created with the right measurement of metals needed. Meanwhile, WR’s counterpart, the Central Railway (CR), are already inspecting the axles of the 121 fleet of trains run in mainline, Harbour and Trans-Harbour lines.