A railway source revealed that a written authority, TA 912, was issued by the Ranipatra station master, permitting the goods train driver to pass all red signals.

As the investigation into the Kanchanjunga accident progresses, new details emerge suggesting that the driver of the goods train involved may not be at fault. Despite being issued a pass, the railways contend that the driver breached the distance protocol after passing the signal. According to railway regulations, after passing the signal, the locomotive pilot must maintain a minimum distance of 150 meters.

Initially, it was reported that a document known as TA 912 was issued to the goods train driver by the station master of Ranipatra, allowing the driver to pass all red signals due to a defective automatic signaling system. However, railways clarified that TA 912 mandates maintaining a minimum distance of 150 meters or two clear OHE spans between trains, which was not adhered to in this case.

TA 912 is typically issued when the automatic signaling system fails, enabling the driver to pass red signals in the affected section. Sources confirmed the malfunction of the automatic signaling system between Ranipatra and Chattar Hat Junction since 5:50 am on the day of the crash.

The document also authorized the deceased loco-pilot to cross nine signals between RNI and CAT disregarding their status, with written permission. However, railways emphasize that the prescribed distance was not maintained.

Railway rules dictate that when a loco pilot is given TA 912 and needs to cross a red signal, they must approach at 10 kmph, stop close to the signal, wait for 1-2 minutes, and then proceed.

The issuance of TA 912 by the station master raises questions, suggesting a possible misunderstanding about the section’s status. The fatal accident occurred between Ranipatra Railway Station and Chattar Hat Junction, resulting in at least 10 deaths and dozens of injuries.

Initially, the Railway Board attributed the accident to the goods train driver’s signal violation. However, subsequent revelations from the document challenge this narrative. The Indian Railway Loco Runningmen Organisation criticized the premature blame on the deceased loco-pilot, emphasizing the failure of the railway administration.

An inquiry into the Kanchanjunga Express crash will be conducted by the chief commissioner of Railway Safety, Northeast Frontier Railway, starting on June 19, with the possibility of extension if necessary.