Trains collide in eastern India, killing at least 8 with rescue work ongoing

A cargo train rammed into a passenger train in India’s eastern state of West Bengal on Monday, killing at least eight people and injuring several others with rescue work ongoing.

The state’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said in a post on social media platform X that doctors, disaster-response teams and ambulances were engaged in rescue work at the accident site, which is near the state’s Darjeeling district, a tourist spot nestled in the Himalayan foothills. “Action on war-footing initiated,” she said.

Sabyasachi De, the spokesperson of the Northeast Frontier Railway, said three of the eight dead were railway personnel. At least 25 people were injured in the collision, which occurred close to the New Jalpaiguri station.

Television channels showed visuals of one train rammed into the end of the other, with one compartment rising vertically in the air. Swarms of people had gathered at the spot, where rescuers were searching the crash site.

Railway authorities told local media that the collision occurred because the cargo train overshot a signal. Four compartments at the rear of the passenger train went off the rails due to the impact, most of which were carrying cargo while one was a passenger coach, according to De, the railway spokesperson.

The Kanchanjunga Express is a daily train that connects West Bengal state with other cities in the northeast. It is often used by tourists who travel to the hill station of Darjeeling, popular at this time of year when several Indian cities are sweltering in the heat.

More than 12 million people ride 14,000 trains across India daily, traveling on 64,000 kilometers (40,000 miles) of track. Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, several hundred accidents happen annually on India’s railways. Most are blamed on human error or outdated signaling equipment.

Last year, a train crash in eastern India killed over 280 people in one of the country’s deadliest rail crashes in decades.

Source: AP

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