New Delhi, Apr 9: Railway Board Chairman Ashwani Lohani has regretted the incident of the Ahmedabad-Puri Express train rolling down without engine. Twenty-two coaches of the train 18406 travelled for at least 15 kilometre without an engine on Saturday night in Odisha’s Balangir district. Lohani has termed it an “isolated incident of staff negligence” and has said that a high level inquiry has been ordered while concerned staff has been suspended.

““The incident of rolling down of Ahmedabad – Puri express at Titlagarh is an isolated incident of staff negligence that is sincerely regretted by the Railways. While the concerned staff has been suspended and a high level enquiry has also been ordered, the railways remains committed to ensuring highest levels of safety in train operations. We have also ordered a one month long drive over the entire network for sensitizing the staff regarding the precautions to be taken to prevent such incidents,” Lohani said in his statement.

He added that passenger safety remained the top focus of Indian Railways. “Passenger safety followed by passenger comfort remains the highest priority of Indian Railways. The subject of safety is continuously monitored at the highest levels in the Railway Board with the monitoring being done daily at the level of the Chairman, Railway Board,” Lohani said.

Watch video of Ahmedabad-Puri Express incident here

The incident happened on Saturday night reportedly because the skid brakes on the wheels had not been applied, which in turn resulted in the detachment of the engine from the rest of the coaches. The Ahmedabad-Puri express rolled down towards Kesinga side near Titlagarh as the section from Titlagarh towards Kesinga has a downward slope. Since it was risky to stop the train altogether on a downward slope, the train was halted by keeping stones on the railway tracks. Divisional Railway Manager of Sambalpur Jaideep Gupta said that the passengers were unharmed in the incident.

According to latest reports, seven officials have been suspended after the incident. East Coast Railway officials said that the persons-in-charge either did not apply the skid brakes altogether or placed them improperly which led to this unfortunate incident.