Danger Ahead! - Historic Railway Disasters Sealdah Express collision kills more than 200
Historic Railway Disasters
27 Nov 98

India: Sealdah Express collision kills more than 200

The bodies of 205 victims of the Sealdah Express train crash have now been removed from the wreckage. Reports suggest that a further 10 are likely to be recovered.

The crash occurred on Thursday at about 3:35 a.m. (2205 GMT on Wednesday) when the Ambala-bound Sealdah Express struck derailed coaches of the Frontier Golden Mail near Kauri village. Kauri is situated in the Punjab about 150 miles northwest of New Delhi.

Acoupling between two coaches of the Frontier Mail had broken, derailing the train. Two minutes later, the Sealdah Express, travelling in the opposite direction, on another track crashed into the derailed carriages. Both trains are thought to have been carrying aroung 1,700 people. Most of the deaths occurred in the first four carriages of the express.

Some reports suggest that a railwayman had tried to warn the approaching express, but the train was too close to the derailment for his call to have any effect.

Indian Railways are the world's largest single rail undertaking operating about 14,000 trains each day. They offer the cheapest mode of transport in India and are hugely popular with an estimated 11 million passengers carried daily. Safety is not however of the highest order with around 300 accidents recorded each year. Many are blamed on outdated equipment and human error. Safety recommendations are frequently left unimplemented due to a lack of finance.

This accident is India's worst since 1995 when 358 people were killed in a collision between two trains near New Delhi.

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Massive rescue operation at Khanna, crash toll now 209
Indian Express 28/11/98

Toll in train smash rises to 188
The Hindu 28/11/98

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