Indian Railways: Rail Fracture Is The Main Cause Of Train Derailments


There is a requirement for adopting a modern system to detect track failure at a faster pace to prevent derailments, Indian Railways says.


Track maintenance has become a cause for concern with about 10 derailment incidents involving goods trains since November 2020.

A total of 22 wagons were derailed due to rail fracture in North West zone on 25 January 2022. Six wagons of a goods train were derailed on 24 October this year in Hubbali section due to suspected track failure. The inquiry report is still pending.

Track failure has emerged as a major cause for train derailment in the recent past and efforts are being undertaken to address the issue as more such cases are feared in the near future with drop in the temperature, according to Indian Railways.

According to the railways data, weld failure and rail fracture are major reasons for train accidents in the recent past.

Considering the prevailing situation, there is a requirement for adopting a modern system to detect track failure at a faster pace to prevent derailments, according to the railways.

A fully loaded freight train from Kirandul was derailed on 10 November 2020, in Waltair division due to rail fracture. Twelve wagons capsized, and were derailed. The section was blocked and other trains coming from Kirandul were diverted. The cause of the derailment was material defect besides rail fracture.

On 1 December 2020 three wagons were derailed in Kharagpur division due to rail fracture followed by another train derailment on 29 December 2020 in the East Coast zone.

In another rail fracture case, four wheels of a locomotive were broken when an engine was moving on a corroded line and the track was broken on 15 January 2021 in the Chennai Central section.

Seventeen wagons fell off a bridge in Bilaspur division in South East Central zone on 9 July 2021.

A derailment occurred primarily due to weld failure in Bhusawal section in Central Railway zone on 15 August 2021.

A locomotive was derailed in Chennai Central section due to rail fracture on 16 September 2021.

A container train loaded with tiles got derailed due to rail fracture on 11 November 2021.

There is a need for rapid introduction of sensor-based automatic machines to detect rail fracture with a complete replacement of manual systems in every section.

An Australian technology was used in the Konkan Railway to detect rail fractures on about 600 km rail line and it was found to be quite effective to prevent track failures in time.

There is proven technology to detect rail fracture on a faster pace and the state-of-the-art systems would be adopted by Indian Railways to prevent rail mishaps, the national transporter maintains.