Disasters & Accidents

Trains resume in section where rail accident left 275 dead in eastern India

New Delhi, Jun 5 (EFE).- Trains began to run normally again on Monday in the area where a rail accident last week left 275 dead and more than 1,000 injured due to a collision between three trains, marking the worst such incident in the 21st century.

The incident took place near Balasore in the eastern state of Odisha around 7.20 pm on Friday when a passenger train derailed and crashed into a goods train, after which another passenger train coming from the opposite direction crashed into wagons of the other trains that had fallen on its path.

“Train movement on both Up & Down Main line has resumed within 51 hours of train derailment,” the Ministry of Railways posted on the social network Twitter, along with images of several trains leaving the station.

The resumption in services comes following the conclusion of search and rescue efforts and the removal of debris from the spot.

According to the latest casualty toll from the Odisha health department, 275 people were killed and 1,175 were injured, 344 of whom remain hospitalized.

The process of identification of bodies continues.

Railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said on Sunday that a fault in electronic interlocking or the automatic signaling system was to blame for the collision.

He also called for the Central Bureau of Investigation – one of the major investigative agencies in the country – to look into the causes of the accident.

Authorities have announced a compensation of over $12,000 for the victim’s families, while the seriously injured passengers were given $2,500. A $600 compensation was announced for light injuries.

Opposition parties such as the Indian National Congress have demanded the resignation of the railways minister over the accident and highlighted the lack of sufficient funds for track maintenance as the government has shifted its focus on modernizing the network with semi high-speed trains.

The crash marks the worst railway accident in India in the 21st century.

In 1999, the collision of two trains in the state of West Bengal left 288 dead, while 800 people were killed in 1981 when a train derailed while crossing a bridge and fell into a river in the northern state of Bihar.

India’s railway network is the fourth largest in the world after the United States, Russia and China, with a coverage of over 68,000 kilometers.

It transports around 23 million passengers daily in over 21,600 trains moving through 7,349 stations. EFE


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