IR incurred Rs.1200 Crore Loss on Cancellations/Late running of trains due to Itarsi RRI Fire Tragedy

Itarsi (ET): Even after a lapse of about 24 days, normal rail traffic under the five divisions of East Central Railway (ECR), which was disrupted due to fire at the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) system at Itarsi Junction under West Central Railway in Madhya Pradesh on June 17, is yet to be restored. Railways has incurred a loss of about Rs 1,200 crore so far due to cancellation and abnormal late running of passenger trains, a Railway Board official said.

The official said the incident could have been averted had there been smoke detector device in the RRI system. “Perhaps this is the first such incident which has virtually paralysed both passenger and goods train movement either passing through or originating from Itarsi Junction. The exact loss of railway revenue can be assessed only after normalization of traffic movement,” he said, adding full restoration of RRI system at Itarsi is now the top priority for the railways.

The railways has requisitioned the services of technical experts and personnel from other zones to expedite restoration work of the RRI system, the official said. Work has been going on round-the-clock under the direct supervision of Railway Board officials who are camping at the site for about a fortnight, he said.

ECR CPRO Arvind Rajak said as many as 61 trains have been affected under the ECR due to the RRI system snag. While 27 trains remain cancelled, seven trains have been diverted to other routes. The ECR has suffered a huge loss by way of cancellation of trains as well as refund of tickets. It is making all efforts to provide alternative train services to stranded passengers in Bihar by running special trains, he said.

According to sources, about 300 passenger and 25 goods trains pass through Itarsi Junction every day. Under a temporary arrangement, railways is allowing 110 passenger trains to pass through Itarsi Junction daily now. Operation of these trains is being done manually. Meanwhile, railways has introduced a new system to give information to people about cancellation or late running of passenger trains via Itarsi on site, they said.

Railways yet to find solution to avoid Itarsi-like situation

Indian Railways, though been able to meet the challenges developing out of the damage of the Route Relay Interlocking (RRI) system panel due to a major fire incident at the Itarsi Junction, is yet to find a solution to avoid a similar incident in the near future. The Railways engaged more than 1,000 engineers, technicians and staff, who worked round the clock to bring on track 85 per cent of rail traffic within three days.