New Delhi, Sep 7 (PTI) On the back of three train derailments, Railway Minister Piyush Goyal today asked the Railway Board to divert rails marked for construction of new lines to stretches prone to accidents and where replacement was due.

He also directed the board officials to expedite procurement of new rails to complete laying of tracks in pending projects and eliminate unmanned level crossings within a year.

Chairing a meeting with top Railway Board officials, the minister asked them to take up track replacement and renewal on a priority, an official said.

“The procurement of new rails should be expedited on a large scale with a view to completing construction of new lines in time,” the minister was quoted as having told the officials.

Goyal also instructed the board to install anti-fog LED lights in locomotives to ensure unhindered and safe train operations during winter.

Goyal, who assumed office after the exit of his prececessor Suresh Prabhu following a string derailments, also said the process of replacing old coaches with modern LBH bogies should be speeded up.

“The Minister emphasised that safety is paramount and there cannot and should not be any compromise on this front,” said the senior official.

Today, three trains jumped off the tracks while derailment of another was averted in Uttar Pradesh, New Delhi and Maharashtra within a span of nine hours.

The hattrick of derailments was the first since Goyal assumed office following Sunday’s rejig in the Union Council of Ministers.

On August 20, 14 coaches of the high-speed Kalinga-Utkal Puri Haridwar Express had derailed in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar, killing at least 23 people and leaving scores injured.

Three days later, nine coaches of the Delhi-bound Kaifiyat Express had derailed in the Auraiya district of Uttar Pradesh after it collided with a dumper, which had strayed on to the tracks, leaving around 100 passengers injured.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.