Devastating Train Collisions: Two passenger trains and a goods train collided in Balasore, Odisha, resulting in over 260 fatalities and approximately 1,000 reported injuries, making it one of the worst accidents in India's rail history.

Impact on Iconic Shalimar Chennai Coromandel Express: The accident not only affected the passengers onboard but also left a deep impact on those who have traveled on the luxurious and well-regarded Howrah to Chennai Shalimar Chennai Coromandel Super Fast Express.

Lack of Safety Measures: The absence of a protective signaling system, known as "armor," on this particular route has raised questions about the implementation of safety technologies and the allocation of funds for train collision prevention.

Challenges in Implementing Safety Technology: Connecting the entire rail network, comprising 15,000 locomotives, 70,000 km of rail routes, 7,000 railway stations, and 15,000 level crossings, with a comprehensive cover system would require substantial financial investment, estimated to be around 1,00,000 crores.

Inadequate Budget Allocation: Despite the significant cost associated with implementing safety measures, the government's budget provision for armor in 2022-23 was only 273,00,00,000, falling far short of the required amount.

Progress on Armor Installation: According to the Railway Minister's reply in the Lok Sabha, 22,00,00,000 has been spent on developing the Kavach (armor) system, covering 1,455 km of routes, with work underway for an additional 3,000 km.

Shortage of Loco Pilots: The recent accidents have highlighted the issue of a shortage of loco pilots in the railways. The working hours of train drivers have increased, potentially impacting their concentration and overall safety.

Rise in Train Accidents: The number of train accidents has been increasing, with 35 accidents causing fatalities or damage reported in 2021-2022, projected to rise to 48 in 2022-23. These accidents, including cases of signal missed, indicate the need for immediate attention to staff shortages and working conditions.

Call for Urgent Staff Recruitment: The Railway Board has emphasized the need to fill vacant loco pilot positions promptly and evaluate the working hours of existing loco pilots to ensure they do not exceed 12 hours, acknowledging the impact on safety and well-being.

Prioritizing Rail Safety: The tragic incidents in Balasore emphasize the importance of investing in comprehensive safety measures, addressing staff shortages, and ensuring adequate rest periods for train drivers to mitigate the risks associated with train collisions and protect passengers' lives.