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23 killed, many hurt in Mathura train mishap

Wednesday, October 21, 2009 04:21:49 PM, Agencies

Mathura/New Delhi: At least 23 people were killed when two Delhi-bound passenger trains collided early Wednesday in Uttar Pradesh's Mathura city. Hours after the Goa Express rammed into the stationary Mewar Express, several people continued to be trapped in the mangled carriages.

More than 20 people were injured in the accident that occurred around 5 a.m. at an outer signal, about 55 km from Agra.


Rajesh Kumar, senior divisional commercial manager at the accident site said: "Twenty three deaths have been confirmed. The condition of some of those injured is critical and unstable. The number could go up. Rescue work is continuing as bodies have to be taken out of the bogie."


The Mewar Express, in which some people from the Goa Express had been accommodated, had been stopped at nearby Vrindavan. Some buses have also been arranged to take the passengers to Delhi, about 150 km away.


"Work is progressing at a fast pace and the situation should normalise within a few hours," public relations officer Bhupendra Dhillon said at the divisional railway manager's (DRM) office.


Traffic along the busy route that affects Delhi-West and Delhi-South trains has been disrupted. Several trains have been diverted and the Intercity Express from Agra to Hazrat Nizamuddin has been cancelled. The Taj Express and the Shatabdi from Delhi are likely to be delayed, the official added.


Trains are being diverted from Agra Cantt railway station towards Tundla junction for Delhi. Railway officials said most trains were likely to be delayed. "Arrival at Delhi would be delayed by a few hours, as there would be heavy traffic on this line via Agra Fort junction and Yamuna Bridge station towards Tundla which is connected by a second track," an official said.


Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was in Kolkata, ordered an inquiry into the train collision and announced a compensation of Rs.500,000 for the families of the deceased.


Uttar Pradesh's Agriculture Minister Laxminarain Choudhry has also announced a compensation of Rs.10 lakh and a job for the families of the victims.


Senior Railway officials in New Delhi said that prima facie the accident appeared to have occurred due to the driver of the Goa Express having overshot the signal. "The section where the collision took place has an Automatic Block Signalling system in which the signal does not allow one train to enter a block unless it is clear.


Since track circuiting is in place, once a train halts mid-section, the signal goes red. In this case too, the signal would have gone red once Mewar Express halted in the middle of the section. The only way the Goa Express could have then entered the block was with its loco-pilot overshooting the signal," a senior railway official said.


Asked about the possibility of the signal having failed, Railways officials said that the signals in a Automatic Block Signalling system are "fail-safe". "Even if the signal fails, it will automatically become red ensuring that no other train enters a given block section," an official explained.


Meanwhile, Railway Minster Mamata Bannerjee has announced for those who are killed in and injured in the accident.











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