At least 22 people were killed and as many injured when Delhi-bound Goa Express rammed into stationary Mewar Express near Mathura early Wednesday.
The Goa Express hit the Udaipur city-Hazrat Nizamuddin Mewar Express from behind between Mathura and Vrindavan at around 4.30 AM, apparently after its driver ignored signal, railway officials said.
At least 22 people, including the guard of Mewar Express and two staff members of the pantry car of Goa Express, were killed and 22 others injured, they said.
The unreserved compartment, which was a second class cum luggage rake at the end of the Mewar Express, bore the maximum brunt of the accident. The pantry car of the Goa Express was also damaged.
Senior Superintendent of Police of Mathura, B D Paulson, said 18 people were rescued from the coach which was packed with women passengers and children. The luggage section of the coach probably prevented heavier casualties, he said.
Railway officials said the driver of the Goa Express was either over-speeding or may have jumped the signal.
"Prima facie the driver of the Goa Express disregarded the signal...either he did not stop the train at the signal or did not proceed on a cautious speed," Deputy Regional Manager of Railways, Agra zone, R D Tripathi told reporters.
Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who is in Kolkata, ordered an inquiry into the mishap and announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased.
A top railway official, who visited the spot, did not rule out any technical glitch in the signal system.
He said medical test carried out on the driver of Goa Express showed that he was not drunk.
Two bogies at the rear of the Mewar Express, which was on its way to Delhi, derailed due to the impact of the accident.
Several trains were temporarily diverted after the accident and the track was cleared at around 2 PM for normal traffic.
Railways pressed into service thousands of its workers and heavy machinery to remove the damaged and derailed bogies.
Army help was also sought to clear the track and it deployed about 150 personnel for the task.
Some of the injured have been shifted to Delhi. PTI