• 14 Jul, 2024

9 reported dead in Indian train accident

9 reported dead in Indian train accident

The incident is the latest incident in India's creaking rail network, which carries millions of passengers every day.

A freight train collided with a passenger train in the Indian state of West Bengal, killing up to 9 people and injuring dozens.

The freight train collided with the Kanchanjunga Express in the state's eastern Darjeeling district on Monday morning. Initial reports indicate that the cause of the accident was human error. Hundreds of accidents are recorded every year on India's crowded railways. Abhishek Roy, a police officer in Darjeeling district in the state's eastern region where the accident occurred, told Reuters that at least 9 bodies had been retrieved from the destroyed carriages.

Nearly 30 people were injured, Roy said, adding that police and National Disaster Response Force rescue teams were working with doctors and residents to remove debris from the derailed carriages.

 Northeast Frontier Railway spokesman Sabyasachi De said three of the dead were railway staff.

 West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said on Twitter that doctors, ambulances and disaster response teams had been sent to the scene of the accident near New Jalpaiguri station.

"Wartime measures have been launched," she said. She called the incident "tragic" but did not immediately give a figure for the casualties.

Television footage showed one train slamming into the end of another, sending one carriage flying vertically into the air. A large crowd gathered at the scene where rescue workers were searching for victims.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnav said the injured would be taken to hospital.

Jaya Varma Sinha, chief executive of the Railway Administration, which runs the national rail network, told reporters the accident happened after a goods train driver ignored a signal and ran into the rear of an express train. According to railway spokesman De De, the impact derailed four compartments at the end of the passenger train, most of which were carrying freight, but one was a passenger car.

More than 12 million people travel across India every day on 14,000 trains, traveling along a 64,000-km-long rail network.

In recent years, India has invested huge amounts of money to upgrade its network with modern stations and electronic signaling systems. Despite efforts to improve rail safety, hundreds of accidents occur every year, most of which are caused by human error or outdated signaling systems.

Last year, a train accident in eastern India killed at least 280 people, making it one of the country's worst rail accidents in decades. The Kanchanjunga Express is a daily train that connects West Bengal with other cities in northeastern India. It is often used by tourists travelling to Darjeeling, a mountain resort that is extremely popular at this time of year when many Indian cities heat up.