New Delhi/ Mumbai: Indian Railway is on the defensive and in denial after CNN-IBN reported on Monday how at least 250 locomotives have faulty design. The diesel engines are being used despite Railway's internal enquiry terming them unsafe.
But the Railway has contradicted its own confidential internal reports on engines and called the report on the unsafe design of WDP4 locomotive "false".
"The features regarding unsafe design of WDP4 locomotive which is a diesel locomotive is not factually correct. All rolling stock which is introduced on Indian Railway goes through a rigorous process of approval, first from our own organisation called Research Design and Standard Organisation based at Lucknow and through the approval of Commissioner of Railway. It goes through three processes and WDP4 has gone to all three processes and it is not faulty. These Locomotives are safe and no collision has taken place in past. This information is incorrect," said Indian Railway spokesperson Anil Kumar Saxena.
According to the Railway the "fool-proof quality checks" discount any scope of error.
But CNN-IBN has found that there are over 250 faulty engines currently with the Railway.
Imported from the US, the WDP4 locomotive at a top speed of 160 kmph is the fastest in the country and hauls several super fast trains like Rajdhanis everyday. But their faulty design has a long hood in the front and so drivers are not only unable to sight the railway track ahead but shockingly also the signal, which could lead to an accident.
A railway safety report in 2006 has also pointed out the faulty design and even the drivers' memorandum has been blaming it. The drivers have reported that the "flaw in the engine may lead to a disaster".
In fact an accident was averted in June 2007 when Pushpak Express jumped a red signal but the driver stopped it just in the nick of time and blamed WDP4's faulty design. Citing the report as one of the reasons a few days later Railway decided to run Pushpak Express on electric locomotives.
Even a Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) report has indicted the engine design.
The reports said: "These locomotives were imported from USA bypassing requisite technical approvals. Their cost, Rs 390 crore was unjustified and that they are actually designed according to North American railway system and not the Indian one."