Twin Tragedy: Could at least one be averted?

When I heard the news yesterday morning about the twin train tragedy in MP, I could not help but wonder - Kamayani express was the first to derail and then later it was Janata Express. Lives were lost, which is terrible, but could at least the second derailment of Janata express be averted? 

In the era of GPS tracking and internet of things where we have billions of sensors helping collect and manage so much data, could proper user of these technologies help avert some of these disasters? The first train got derailed due to localized issue of flash floods and the land near the bridge giving way. This probably was difficult to predict and prevent against, but after the first train derailed, why wasn't the second train stopped before it too got derailed? If the time gap between the two was very small, then I guess nothing could be done. I tried to figure this out, but could not get much from the news, as most articles just mentioned about the two trains being derailed. 

Most vehicles today use GPS sensors to help track their movement. I think it would be fair to assume that our trains also use them. If that happens, then from the control room, was it not possible to figure out that Kamayani express had stopped moving at particular location and hence something is wrong. This could have been used to alert other trains in the area. But this means that someone was monitoring at control room. Given the time of accident, it wasn't too late in the night as well. 

But since round the clock physical monitoring isn't possible, internet of things can come to the rescue. What if the trains are fitted with sensors that immediately start sending alert signal the moment an accident happens? These signals could alert the station master and police in the near by area, maybe. The sensor could also broadcast to other trains about this, thus alerting the other drivers to drive cautiously? 

Manually alerting trains either via GPS tracking control room or due to sensor in the other train, may not be always possible. In this case we can also have a possible auto-breaking mechanism in all trains, to come to a halt automatically or at least slow down if an accident is broadcast in a near-by area. They can then proceed with caution and avert additional tragedies. Such automated assistance technologies can alert within seconds of a disaster and precious times and lives can be saved. 

One can even argue that why even have trains run on rail lines on the land and have the risk of them derailing, when their are options like magnetic levitation trains. 

Variety of technology solutions exist today and I am pretty sure funds will also be there to drive these changes, only if they are used in the right place and driven with passion to make a positive change. 


  1. Government should give priority to the tracks repairing and checking, also implement the latest technology to avoid these frequently happening accidents.Government must focus on safety of existing railway lines rather than low yielding projects like bullet train.


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