9 killed as goods train rams into Kanchanjunga Express in West Bengal : The Tribune India

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9 killed as goods train rams into Kanchanjunga Express in West Bengal

The Kanchanjunga Express, going to Sealdah in West Bengal from Agartala in Tripura, was on the ‘Down line’ and a goods train rammed into it from behind near the New Jalpaiguri station

9 killed as goods train rams into Kanchanjunga Express in West Bengal

Locals gather after a collision between the Kanchanjunga Express and a goods train, near Rangapani railway station, on June 17, 2024. PTI



PTI

New Jalpaiguri/Kolkata/New Delhi, June 17

Nine people were killed and 41 injured as a goods train rammed into the Sealdah-bound Kanchanjunga Express from behind in West Bengal's Darjeeling district on Monday, a senior railway official said.

Among the deceased were the pilot of the goods train and the guard of the passenger train, he added.

The injured have been shifted to North Bengal Medical College and Hospital.

Some local reports attributed to senior West Bengal Police officials put the casualty count at 15.

The collision occurred near Rangapani station, 30 km from New Jalpaiguri station, causing four rear compartments of Kanchanjunga Express to derail due to the impact from behind by the goods train's locomotive, the official said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences, calling the incident tragic and praying for the swift recovery of the injured. In a post on X, Modi said the "railway accident in West Bengal is saddening. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones".

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw reached the spot riding pillion on a motorbike for some distance as the road was narrow for bigger vehicles. He took stock of relief operations and announced compensation for the injured and kin of the deceased.

While Rs 10 lakh would be given to the next of kin of the deceased, Rs 2.5 lakh would be provided to the grievously injured and Rs 50,000 to those with minor injuries, Vaishnaw posted on X.

Vaishnaw said the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) has started a probe into the cause of the accident and added that measures will be taken to prevent a recurrence of the circumstances that led to the accident.

He stressed that restoring train operations on the critical route connecting northeast India with the rest of the country is the top priority for the railways.

"The collision happened because the goods train disregarded the signal and hit the Kanchanjunga Express, which was on its way to Sealdah from Agartala," Railway Board Chairperson Jaya Varma Sinha told reporters in Delhi soon after the accident at 8.55 am.

According to preliminary information received from railway officials, the passenger train was stationary on the tracks when the goods train rammed into it from behind.

Meanwhile, internal documents showed the goods train was allowed to cross all red signals as the automatic signalling had "failed".

The document, a written authority called TA 912, was issued to the driver of the goods train by the station master of Ranipatra, authorising him to cross all red signals, a railway source said.

According to the source, the automatic signalling system between Ranipatra and CAT was defective since 5.50 am.

"Train No. 13174 (Sealdah-Kanchanjunga Express) departed Rangapani station at 8.27 am and stopped between RNI and CAT. The reason for it is unknown", the source told PTI.

Speaking to reporters at Kolkata airport before leaving for the accident site, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee alleged that the railways has become "totally parentless" and that it was only keen on increasing fares and not improving passenger amenities.

"The railways have become totally parentless. Though the ministry is there, the old glory is missing. Only beautification is being done, but they do not care about passenger amenities. They are only keen on hiking fares," she claimed. 

#West Bengal


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