In a deadly collision on Monday in the state of Uttar Pradesh in northern India, at least 40 people were killed and about 100 injured, when a passenger train rammed into a stationary freight train, highlighting yet again the dangers of train travel on India's vast but dilapidated rail network.
The Gorakhdham Express, which was travelling from Gorakhpur town, which lies about 170 miles east of the state capital Lucknow, to Hisar in the northern state of Haryana adjoining New Delhi, collided with a stationary freight train at Churaib station, near Lucknow, after ending up on the same track due to a signaling error. Three of the rail cars on the passenger train were crushed while six others derailed, news reports said.
"There are lot of people inside the coaches who need to be rescued first," Alok Kumar Singh, chief spokesperson for the northeastern division of Indian Railways, told the Times of India, or ToI, a local newspaper. Indian Railways, which runs the country's train network, announced a compensation of 100,000 rupees ($1,701) to the families of the persons killed and 50,000 rupees to the families of those seriously injured, ToI reported, adding that the government would also give 10,000 rupees to those who sustained simple injuries in the accident.
Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister-designate, who is scheduled to be sworn in at 6:00 pm. local time Monday, 8:30 a.m. EDT, said in a tweet: “My condolences to families of those who lost their lives in the Gorakhdham express tragedy. Prayers with the injured,” adding: "Spoke to the cabinet secretary. Asked him to take an overview of the situation and ensure timely assistance to those injured."
The country’s railway ministry has ordered an inquiry into the latest accident, which follows another mishap earlier this month when a train in the western region of the country, near the commercial hub of Mumbai, derailed from its tracks, killing 19 people.
“I was just done with my breakfast and was relaxing when we suddenly felt a jolt followed by a huge thud. The adjacent bogie had overturned and the two bogies behind had capsized. I drew my kids closer to me and somehow managed to fling myself out of the bogie,” a passenger on the Gorakhdham Express said, according to the Hindu, referring to the rail cars on the train.