Rampur, April 15
At least 14 passengers were injured when eight coaches of an express train derailed over a broken piece of the railway track, police said. A probe has been ordered into the incident – the sixth railway accident in the country so far this year.
Railway and police officials said the Rajya Rani Express train was heading for Lucknow from Meerut when the accident took place, two kilometres from Rampur junction and about 150 meters from the Kosi river bridge at around 8.15 a.m.
Rampur Superintendent of Police Keshav Kumar Chaudhary said 14 passengers were injured. “Two or three of them were hospitalized and the rest were discharged after giving first aid. All the injured are out of danger.”
He said one of the coaches had “completely overturned”. A preliminary probe revealed that at least three feet of track was found broken and parts of it were embedded in the ground, he said.
A team of the Uttar Pradesh Anti-terrorism Squad visited the site.
However, the police official ruled out sabotage.
“There seems to be no sabotage. The track may have broken because of some pressure,” Chaudhary said, adding the railways have taken over the probe and they should be in a “better position to explain”.
However, Northern Railway spokesperson Neeraj Sharma said “only two passengers have received injuries”.
The accident affected at least 25 trains on the Meerut-Bareilly section.
Sharma said the railway authorities arranged buses for stranded passengers for their onward journey to their destinations.
Railways Minister Suresh Prabhu in the morning said he was “personally monitoring (the) situation”.
“Enquiry ordered to look into the cause. Strict action will be taken against any lapse,” the Minister tweeted, and announced financial assistance of Rs 50,000 for the injured.
Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath also announced financial assistance of Rs 50,000 each to those seriously injured and Rs 25,000 each to those suffering minor injuries.
This is the sixth accident this year to hit the Indian Railways, the world’s fourth largest rail network that ferries 2.3 crore people across every day.
The government in February 2015 announced ambitious plans to pump in Rs one lakh crore to revamp safety infrastructure of the ageing network till 2020.
On January 22, more than 40 passengers died and over 50 were injured when the Hirakhand Express derailed near Vizianagaram in Andhra Pradesh.
A month later three coaches and the engine of Kalindi Express derailed after colliding with a goods train at the Tundla Junction in Uttar Pradesh. The two trains were running on the same track. Nobody was injured.
On March 17, four women were killed after a train rammed into an ambulance at an unmanned level crossing in Karnataka.
Nearly two weeks later, some 52 people were injured after eight coaches of the Jabalpur-Nizamuddin Mahakaushal Express derailed near Kulpahar railway station in Uttar Pradesh.
A goods train engine got derailed between Madpur and Jakpur in Howrah-Kharagpur section in West Bengal. There were no injuries.
Some 80 accidents were reported last year and 70 in 2015.
Rampur, April 15