LAHORE - Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique confirmed on Monday that ill-fated special train derailed 315 metres away from the bridge as according to him the nut bolts and fish plates were found loose at the point of derailment.
If the assertion of the minister is taken to be correct then there was nothing wrong with the Chanwan Bridge which was earlier being taken as one of the reasons behind the train-plunge tragedy at Gujranwala.
Addressing a press conference at Railways headquarters, the minister also confirmed the train was moving beyond its speed limit and the driver did not stop at the dead-point which was mandatory.
He, however, reiterated that nothing could be said with certainty about the incident prior to the findings of JIT. He requested media not to publish or air “rumors” on the sensitive matter till the findings were not released.
A joint investigation team of Pakistan Army and railways officials are conducting the inquiry into the incident and its final findings are expected to be released on Thursday.
“All in-use tracks of railways are fit for train operations. There is nothing wrong with the bridge and the track,” he stressed.
The bridge was not included in 159 weak bridges which the railways was rehabilitating in a phase-wise programme.
He said the locomotive of the train was rehabilitated for 18 years period in 2003. The American made engine became the part of the railways fleet in 1967, he added.
To a query, he replied that the assigned security guard was not with the locomotive instead an assistant guard replaced him.
To a question regarding involvement of Raw or any terrorist organization in the incident, he said all the matters were being investigated thoroughly without any pressure.