15 including 3 Railway staff killed as goods train rams into Kanchanjunga Express in Bengal

Locals gather after the Kanchanjungha Express collided with a goods train, near New Jalpaiguri railway station. Photo: PTI

Kolkata: At least 15 persons including three railway staff were killed and 41 were injured  after a goods train collided with Kanchanjunga Express near New Jalpaiguri station in West Bengal on Monday. Railway Board Chairman and CEO Jaya Varma Sinha confirmed that three railway officials including driver and assistant driver of the goods train and guard of the passenger train were killed in the tragedy. Talking to the media, she said that the loco pilot of the goods train reportedly disregarded the signal. The official added that the rescue operation was completed and the injured were rushed to the hospitals. 

Soon after the accident made headlines, Additional SP of Darjeeling Police told media that the goods trains crashed into Kanchanjungha Express from behind. The Kanchanjungha Express which runs between Silchar in Assam and Sealdah in Kolkata was halted there. Three bogies have been derailed.  ''The passengers were rescued. We arranged ambulances to shift them to the hospital. A camp has been set up in a madrassa nearby and some of the passengers are being shifted there,'' the police official told media.

NDRF team removes derailed coaches from track. Photo: PTI

Two rear compartments of the passenger train were derailed under the impact of the collision from behind by the locomotive of the goods train near Rangapani station, about seven km from North Bengal's New Jalpaiguri station, a railway official said. Following the accident, the train services connecting West Bengal with northeastern India have been affected severely.

Help desk opened
Sealdah Eastern Railway has set up a control desk at Rangapani station to coordinate the rescue efforts, ANI reported. Divisional Railway Manager, Eastern Railway, Sealdah Division said in a tweet that a special helpline booth has been set up at Sealdah Station following a rear-end collision involving the Down Kanchanjunga Express near New Jalpaiguri. The helpline numbers are :- 03323508794, 033-23833326. An additional help desk is also being established at Naihati station to provide further support to passengers. Helpline Number at Nihati :- Rly. No.39222. BSNL No. 033-25812128. Sealdah division is sincerely working to address the situation and provide assistance to those affected by the collision, DRM Sealdah ER said.

The two rear compartments were derailed under the impact of the collision from behind by the locomotive of the goods train near Rangapani station. Photo: PTI

PM, Bengal CM, Railway Minister express shock
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced that an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh from PMNRF would be given to the next of kin of each deceased in the railway mishap in West Bengal. The injured would be given Rs. 50,000.

Taking to 'X', he said that the railway accident in West Bengal is saddening.
''Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest. Spoke to officials and took stock of the situation. Rescue operations are underway to assist the affected. The Railways Minister Shri @AshwiniVaishnaw  Ji is on the way to the site of the mishap as well,'' he wrote on X.

Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, in a post on X, said: Shocked to learn, just now, about a tragic train accident, in Phansidewa area of Darjeeling district. While details are awaited, Kanchenjunga Express has reportedly been hit by a goods train.

DM, SP, doctors, ambulances and disaster teams have been rushed to the site for rescue, recovery, medical assistance. Action on war-footing initiated.

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw tweeted that injured are being shifted to the hospital. ''Unfortunate accident in NFR zone. Rescue operations going on at war footing. Railways, NDRF and SDRF are working in close coordination. Injured are being shifted to the hospital. Senior officials have reached site,'' he tweeted.

The 13174 Kanchanjunga Express was bound for Sealdah from Agartala when the accident occurred around 9 am, the railway official said. The accident occurred on the Siliguri corridor, popularly known as Chicken's neck corridor; a 22 km long area which connects North Eastern regions with remaining parts of India. The train accident on this route is likely to disrupt the schedule of many trains running along this corridor.

According to the parliament data on railway accidents, a total of 48 train accidents took place in 2022-23 claiming 8 lives and leaving 81 injured.
(With agency inputs)

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