ISLAMABAD – The railways authorities have decided to revamp the check and balance system of the trains following a spree of train accidents in recent past that rattled public.

Expressing his views in the National Assembly, Railways Minister Saad Rafiq informed the standing committee concerned that scores of cases pertaining to negligence of drivers for accidents were pending because of lack of stringent punishment.

“We are devising new procedures to punish those responsible for train accidents. If the system is not changed, criminals will continue to escape punishment,” he said.
Mr Rafiq opined that human error and negligence, and not the signalling system were responsible for the train accidents.

Furthermore, he said, drivers of the ill-fated train had ignored the yellow and red lights indicated from three locations.

However, the safety level of the railways was far better than many other countries as around 1,400 trains ran across the country round the year, he said.

Referring to the Karachi accident, he said the preliminary report received recently had blamed the driver and his assistant for the incident which resulted in loss of lives and injuries to passengers.

He confirmed that cases had been registered against both the drivers who jumped from the engine just before the accident.

A railways official, Aftab Akbar, informed the committee that evidence about the accident had been collected and a final report would be out in five days.

Besides, the minister described the unmanned crossings as the principal source of accidents, but no such crossing had been added to the railway system in the past three years.

The minister confirmed that the Punjab government had spent Rs610 million to close 75 spots, he said.

He added that a total Rs.5 billion was needed to close crossings from Karachi to Peshawar, for which a survey was being conducted.