One Dead As Trains Collide Head-On In India
Two passenger trains collided head on in eastern India on Sunday, killing at least one person and leaving many trapped in the wreckage, a local official said.
The engine of the Guwahati-Bangalore express derailed as it collided with a local train in the Malda district of West Bengal, around 350 kilometres (220 miles) north of state capital Kolkata.
Malda district magistrate Rajesh Sinha told AFP the engines of the trains caught fire after the collision and some carriages tumbled into an adjacent paddy field.
“Some of the carriages are twisted and many passengers are trapped,” he said, adding that one person was confirmed dead and a dozen have been taken to hospital. A relief train has been rushed to the scene.
The crash came three weeks after a packed express train travelling from Kolkata to New Delhi derailed at high speed in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, killing 63 people.
India’s state-run railway system — still the main form of long-distance travel despite fierce competition from new private airlines — carries 18.5 million people daily.
The worst accident in India was in 1981 when a train plunged into a river in the eastern state of Bihar, killing an estimated 800 people.
The railway is the country’s largest employer with 1.4 million people on its payroll and it runs 11,000 trains a day.
Experts say the system, the world’s second largest under a single management, is desperately in need of new investment to improve safety and help end transportation bottlenecks.