Kanchanjunga Express Accident: Major Train Mishaps That India Witnessed in the Last 10 Years – News18

Nearly 15 people died in the Kanchenjunga Express collision on Monday, when a container freight train rammed it near West Bengal’s New Jalpaiguri, making it one of the deadliest train tragedies.

The Sealdah-bound Kanchanjungha Express collided with a goods train on Monday morning near New Jalpaiguri, a senior North Frontier Railway (NFR) official said.

Preliminary investigation into the accident reveals that the loco pilot of the goods train disregarded the signal, which led to the mishap. The loco pilot of the goods train and the guard of the passenger train are among those killed in the accident.

Around 19 trains have been cancelled so far on the New Jalpaiguri, Siliguri Junction, Bagdogra and Aluabari Road routes in the wake of the accident.

India has witnessed a series of train accidents in the last 10 years due to technical failures and human negligence.

Here are some of the major train accidents that occurred in a decade.

Gorakhdham Express in 2014: The locomotive of Gorakhdham Express on the Hisar-Gorakhpur route derailed along with 11 coaches in Uttar Pradesh. The cause of the accident was deemed to be a “fracture of tongue rail”, which helps trains smoothly switch their path to another railway line, and it was classified as “Failure of Equipment”.

Janata Express in 2015: The Varanasi-Dehradun Janata Express failed to stop at a station in Uttar Pradesh, leading to a crash and derailment of some coaches on March 20, 2015. “While the train was entering Bachhrawan station, the loco pilot of the train overshot the signal and crashed into the sand hump, causing derailment of the train engine and two coaches,” a Railways spokesperson had then said. A later inquiry said braking failure resulted in the accident.

Indore-Patna Express in 2016: Fourteen coaches of the Indore-Patna Express derailed in the Pukhrayan area of the Kanpur Dehat district on November 20, 2016. The accident claimed 152 lives – one of the biggest death tolls for railway accidents in recent years. The NIA attributed the accident to terrorist sabotage. Then Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said there was “possible criminal interference by outsiders”. However, in 2020, the final CRS report cited a sudden catastrophic mechanical failure as the “probable cause”.

Hirakhand Express in 2017: The Jagdalpur-Bhubaneswar Hirakhand Express derailed at the Kuneru station in Andhra Pradesh on January 21, 2017. The train’s mishap led to the deaths of 40 people and injuries to more than 50. In July 2017, a theory that the Maoists had planted explosives to derail the train was ruled out. The final reports of the accident have not been released so far in the Indore-Patna Express and Hirakhand Express cases.

Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU, Amritsar-Howrah Express in 2018: During Dussehra, nearly 60 people were mowed down by two trains on the railway tracks near Amritsar on October 19, 2018. The crowd of 300 people had gathered to watch the fireworks during the Dussehra celebrations when the Jalandhar-Amritsar DMU came on the tracks. Former CM Captain Amarinder Singh ordered an inquiry. Several factors – the people, Municipal Corporation of Amritsar, politicians, police and railways were blamed for the mishap. Then Minister of State Manoj Sinha said in response to a question in the Lok Sabha: “According to the CCRS preliminary enquiry report, the incident occurred due to negligence of persons reportedly standing on and near railway track witnessing Dusshera Mela.”

Seemanchal Express in 2019: A rail fracture led to the derailment of bogies of the Delhi-bound Seemanchal Express in Bihar’s Vaishali district on February 3, 2019. Several people died and others injured in the incident. A fracture in the rail tracks can be caused due to fatigue, wear and tear, lack of proper maintenance, corrosion, etc.

Freight Train Accident in 2020: An empty freight train running from Cherlapally Station near Hyderabad to the Panewadi Station in Nashik, accidentally mowed down 16 workers who were sleeping on the tracks on May 8, 2020. The loco pilot reportedly spotted the workers but failed to stop the train in time. The migrant workers from Madhya Pradesh were attempting to travel back home amid the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bikaner-Guwahati Express in 2022: On January 13, 2022, 10 passengers were killed and more than 40 injured after 12 coaches of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express derailed in the Domohani area of West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district.

Shalimar-Chennai Coromandel Express in 2023: Three trains collided, leading to the deaths of at least 293 people on June 2, 2023. The accident occurred when the Chennai-bound Coromandel Express entered the loop line and rammed a stationary goods train in Balasore, Odisha. A few coaches of Yesvantpur Superfast Express derailed after crashing into the capsized coaches of the Coromandel Express on the adjacent track.

Lucknow-Rameshwaram Bharat Gaurav Train Fire: A fire broke out in the Lucknow-Rameshwaram Bharat Gaurav train on August 25, 2023. Nine people died, and 20 passengers were injured. Preliminary investigations revealed that the fire was triggered by a gas cylinder which the passengers smuggled inside the coach for cooking.

Bihar North East Express: On October 11, 2023, train number 12506 Anand Vihar Terminal-Kamakhya Junction North East Express derailed near Raghunathpur Railway Station in Buxar district of Bihar. Six coaches went off the tracks, causing four fatalities and injuring over 70 passengers. The derailment prompted an investigation into its causes, highlighting the urgent need for better maintenance and safety protocols on the railways.

Andhra Pradesh Train Collision: Two passenger trains in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district occurred on October 29, 2023. The Visakhapatnam-Palasa passenger train collided with the Visakhapatnam-Rayagada passenger train, leading to the death of 14 passengers. The accident was attributed to signal failure and human error, sparking debates about the modernisation of railway signalling systems.