A big bang and passengers in the last bogey of the ill-fated Mewar Express were jolted from their slumber early in the morning as hell broke loose for them after the Delhi-bound Goa Express rammed into it.
'There was almost a stampede inside the bogey. People sleeping on the upper berths fell off on those occupying lower berths," said a middle-aged passenger, who was lucky to survive the crash with no injury.
A distraught woman passenger, injured in the accident, said from her hospital bed that she was fast asleep when the unreserved compartment, which was a second class-cum-luggage rake, at the end of the Mewar Express train was hit by another speeding train.
"I could not move my legs. Bags and suitcases fell on me after I heard a loud thud," she said.
An eye-witness, Ramesh Charan, 40, said he saw the speeding Delhi-bound Goa Express crashing into the last coach of the stationary Mewar Express between Mathura and Vrindavan stations in the wee hours and rushed to the accident site to lend a helping hand.
Passengers said the collision occurred minutes after the Goa Express changed track.
"The driver changed tracks and then the train crashed into another train that was stationary," a passenger said.
Another passenger said the scene inside the bogeys soon after the collision was that of complete chaos. "People wailed and shouted for help."
"We felt a very strong impact of the collision. People sleeping on the upper berths fell on those who were sitting on the lower berths," said a passenger.
A resident of Kota in Rajasthan, Saurabh Jain, who was travelling in the Mewar Express, said he felt the train had derailed.
"I opened the emergency window close to me and jumped out. On turning back, I saw electric sparks flying from the ill-fated bogey," he said.
Jain rued that rescue operations by the authorities began almost two hours after the collision. "The injured were wailing. There was no ambulance to ferry them to the nearest medical centres till 06:45 AM," he said.
Mangled steel and broken glasses were strewn all over. Gas and foam cutters were used to extricate trapped passengers, including women and children.
The guard of the Mewar Express and two staff members of the pantry car of the Goa Express were among the dead, a Railway official said.
People from nearby villages in large numbers swung into action to provide rescue and relief.
hey feared that the casualties could have been higher had the last bogey not been partly a luggage carrier. PTI