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IRIR Chief Resigns Over Deadly Train Crash

IRIR Chief Resigns Over Deadly Train CrashIRIR Chief Resigns Over Deadly Train Crash

Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi appointed Mehrdad Taqizadeh-Behjati as the acting head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Railways following the resignation of Mohsen Pourseyyed-Aqaei on Saturday.

Pourseyyed-Aqaei, who was in office since 2013, tendered his resignation in the wake of a train collision on the main line between Tehran and Mashhad “as a social responsibility and out of sympathy for the survivors of this accident”, he said in a televised program, ILNA reported.

The accident took place near the city of Shahroud in the northern province of Semnan around 7:40 a.m. local time on Friday, which left at least 44 dead and 103 injured.

According to local officials, a train had stopped between the towns of Semnan and Damghan after an apparent mechanical failure, which forced officials to halt other trains on the line. But when a new shift started at the control center in Shahroud, a second train was allowed to resume its journey.

Blaming “human error” for the tragic incident, Pourseyyed-Aqaei said, “Investigations show that the Tabriz-Mashhad train had broken down and had to stop for repairs. Controllers had stopped all the trains from travelling on that route. Not having been informed about the issue, the next shift controller allowed the trains to move toward Mashhad.”

The first train had stopped behind a curve, “out of the sight of the other train’s driver,” he added.

The high speed of Semnan-Mashhad train and the Automatic Train Control’s safety system not working properly might have been other causes of the crash.

Three people in connection to the accident have also been arrested.  The ministry is completing its investigation and will release the final report upon completion.

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