India passenger and freight trains collide


At approximately 5:00 am local time, Monday, September 20, 2010, a freight train rammed into the waiting Indore-Gwalior Inter-City Express at Badarwas railroad station, in Shivpuri district in Madhya Pradesh, India, amid heavy rains and low visibility.

Four coaches of the ill-fated passenger train were severely damaged in the collision. Initially, it was estimated fifteen people were killed in the accident, with 50 others injured, but according to a recent statement by officials, the death toll has risen to 21. Many of the injured were admitted to hospitals in Guna and Shivpuri, some reportedly in critical condition.

Though the actual reason for the collision is not yet clear, railway officials suggest that the freight train may have overshot the signal amid heavy rains. Railway authorities said they have launched an investigation to find out how both trains were on the same track at the time of the accident.

Monday’s accident is the latest in a series of fatal railroad accidents that took place in India this past year. Opposition parties have repeatedly accused Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee of being too pre-occupied with her political campaign in her home state of West Bengal to discharge her ministerial duties.

On July 19, the collision between the Uttarbanga Express and the Vananchal Express at Sainthia in West Bengal had resulted in 66 deaths, with 90 others being injured. Exactly a month earlier, more than 27 persons were injured, two of them critically, when the Amaravati Express derailed near Koppal after ramming into a road-roller.

In May, 148 passengers were killed when the Jnaneshwari Express derailed and was hit by a goods train at Jhargram, also in West Bengal. Further, three passengers were killed and many others injured when two express trains – the Kalindi Express and the Shram Shakti Express – collided in Uttar Pradesh in January.