"I have been the Railway Minister and I know that a pilot engine is run 30 minutes ahead of Rajdhani Express trains. This is done to check whether the line is clear and tracks are safe. It seems this was not done in this case and the accident happened," Prasad told PTI over telephone.
"This is a clear cut case of negligence by railway officials. I want to know why the pilot engine was not run on the tracks before the Rajdhani Express was scheduled to cross the area," added Prasad. Expressing grief over the accident, which happened at around 2.15 AM near Goldenganj in Saran district, around 100 km northwest from Patna, Prasad said, "It is a big loss for the Railways".
Reacting to the possibility of sabotage by Maoists, Prasad said even in that case it was the responsibility of the Railways to ensure safety of passengers. "The Maoists had announced the blockade and given prior information. If the accident has happened due sabotage, I severely condemn it, but at the same time the Railways should have taken additional precaution to thwart any such accident," Prasad said.
Four passengers were killed and eight injured when the Delhi-Dibrugarh Rajdhani Express derailed at Golden Ganj station near Chapra early today. PTI DR MM DV