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Liveblog - Goods Train Hits Kanchanjunga Express in Bengal

In a tragic incident in Bengal’s Phansidewa area of Darjeeling district, a goods train collided with the Kanchanjunga Express, resulting in the deaths of five individuals and injuries to at least 25 others. Several coaches of the Kanchanjunga Express were derailed due to the impact of the crash, which occurred earlier today. Rescue operations are currently underway, and more details about the accident are awaited.

Details of the Accident

The accident occurred when a goods train reportedly overshot the signal and crashed into the Kanchanjunga Express. The rear part of the Kanchanjunga Express, which included a cargo van and the guard’s coach, bore the brunt of the collision, limiting the casualties among passengers in the compartments situated further ahead.

Immediate Response

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her shock and dismay over the incident, stating, “Shocked to learn, just now, about a tragic train accident in Phansidewa area of Darjeeling district. While details are awaited, Kanchanjunga 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, and medical assistance. Action on war-footing initiated.”

Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw has left for the accident spot. He has said in a post on X that rescue operations have started on a war footing. “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 said.

mqiurpd kanchanjangha express 625x300 17 june 24
kanchanjangha express 625×300 17 june 24

Rescue Operations

Teams from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and local disaster response units, along with doctors and ambulances, have been deployed to the accident site to assist with rescue and medical efforts. The injured have been transported to nearby hospitals, where they are receiving urgent care. The exact number of casualties and the extent of injuries are still being assessed.

Impact on Train Services

The Kanchanjunga Express is a daily train that connects Bengal with the Northeastern cities of Silchar and Agartala, passing through the vital Chicken’s Neck corridor, which links the Northeast with the rest of India. This route is crucial for passenger and cargo traffic. The accident is likely to disrupt the movement of several other trains on this line, causing delays and cancellations.

Tourist Impact

The Kanchanjunga Express is a popular mode of transport for tourists traveling to the hill station of Darjeeling, especially during the summer months when residents of Kolkata and surrounding areas seek respite from the heat. The derailment and subsequent disruption in train services are expected to affect many travelers and tourists.

Official Statements and Reactions

Officials have been quick to respond to the incident. The District Magistrate (DM) and Superintendent of Police (SP) have reached the site to oversee the rescue and relief operations. The Railways Ministry is expected to conduct an inquiry into the cause of the collision and the apparent signal failure that led to the tragic event.

Eyewitness Accounts

Passengers who survived the accident described scenes of chaos and panic as the collision occurred. One passenger recounted, “There was a sudden jolt, and then everything went dark. People were screaming and trying to get out of the derailed coaches. It’s a miracle that more people weren’t injured given the severity of the impact.”

Steps Taken by Authorities

The immediate priority for authorities is to ensure that all injured individuals receive prompt medical attention. Simultaneously, efforts are being made to clear the tracks and restore normal train services as quickly as possible. Authorities are also coordinating with local communities to provide support and assistance to those affected by the accident.

Historical Context

This accident is a stark reminder of previous train collisions in India, highlighting ongoing concerns about railway safety. Despite improvements in rail infrastructure and safety protocols, incidents like this underscore the need for continued vigilance and enhancement of signal systems and train operation procedures.

Conclusion

As rescue operations continue and investigations into the cause of the accident progress, the focus remains on providing aid to the victims and their families. The collision between the goods train and the Kanchanjunga Express is a tragic event that has not only resulted in loss of life and injuries but has also disrupted the lives of many travelers and their families. The response from authorities has been swift, but the incident raises important questions about railway safety and the measures needed to prevent such accidents in the future.

Future Measures

The Railways Ministry is expected to review and strengthen safety protocols, particularly around signal systems and train operations, to prevent similar incidents. Additionally, there will likely be a focus on enhancing the training of railway personnel and improving emergency response mechanisms.

The thoughts and prayers of the nation are with the victims of this tragic accident, and as the situation develops, more information will be provided on the steps being taken to ensure the safety and security of railway passengers across the country.

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