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Kanchanjungha Express tragedy: History of horrific train accidents in India in the past 10 years

The Kanchanjungha Express accident occurred over a year after India witnessed one of its deadliest train disasters in history, claiming the lives of over 280 people in a collision involving two passenger trains and a freight train in Odisha.

Written By: Ajeet Kumar @Ajeet1994 New Delhi Published on: June 17, 2024 13:42 IST
Train accidents in India
Image Source : AP/INDIA TV Train accidents in India

Indian Railways, which has decades of experience in managing train services in the world's most popular country, has a track record of fatal accidents that claimed thousands of lives. The most recent was a June 17 accident wherein a goods train collided with the Sealdah-bound Kanchanjunga Express near Rangapani station in West Bengal. As the incident occurred today, at least eight were confirmed dead while more than 30 were injured.  

The Indian Railways, with more than 1.2 million employees, is the world's ninth-largest employer and India's second-largest employer. It carries more than a lakh passengers every day. In states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Maharashtra, it is often called a "lifeline" amid the fact it connects far-flung areas of the country. But sometimes, it hits the headlines for fatal crashes that killed thousands of people.

2023: Odisha's Balasore accident

Around a year ago, on June 7, Coromandel Express collided with a stationary iron ore-laden goods train at Bahanaga Bazar station. During the accident, some of its derailed coaches then crashed into the Yeshwantpur-Howrah Express, resulting in India’s worst railway disaster in three decades. The accident took the lives of 293 passengers and left 1,100 injured. 

2018: Amritsar train accident

A commuter train runs through a crowd gathered on the tracks for a festival in northern India's Amritsar city, killing at least 59 people and injuring 57.

2018: Train rammed into a school bus

At least 13 Children were killed after a train rammed into a school van at a railway crossing in Uttar Pradesh's Kushinagar.

2017: Andhra Pradesh train accident

At least 41 people were killed after several coaches of a passenger train went off the rails in southern Andhra Pradesh state.

2016: UP train accident

Some 146 people were killed and more than 200 injured when an Indore-Patna Express train derailed in Uttar Pradesh's Kanpur.

What led to train disasters in India

India boasts one of the world's largest rail networks, established over 160 years ago during British colonial rule. Today, this extensive network operates approximately 11,000 trains daily across 67,000 miles of tracks in the world's most populous nation.

However, the ageing infrastructure frequently contributes to traffic delays and numerous train accidents. Despite government data indicating a decline in accidents and derailments in recent years, such incidents remain tragically frequent.

According to the National Crime Records Bureau, over 16,000 fatalities occurred in nearly 18,000 railway accidents across India in 2021. Most incidents involved falls from trains and collisions between trains and pedestrians on tracks, with train-to-train collisions being comparatively rare. Besides, sometimes, it has been reported that the driver jumps the signal, resulting in fatal crashes.

Also Read: VIDEO: Goods train collides with Kanchanjungha Express near Bengal's New Jalpaiguri, several feared dead



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