Kanchanjungha Express accident: Over 329 lives lost due to train accidents, security issues since August 2021

Kanchanjungha Express accident is the latest addition to rail accidents in India since Ashwini Vaishnav took charge as Minister in 2021. Balasore accident in June 2023 killed at least 296.

BySouth First Desk

Published Jun 17, 2024 | 4:33 PM Updated Jun 18, 2024 | 12:04 PM

Train accident in Balasore in Odisha

The nine deaths following the derailment of three rear coaches of the Sealdah-bound Kanchanjunga Express in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district on Monday, 17 June added to the numerous loss of lives due to the recent train accidents in the country.

On the same day, a bogie of goods train on its way to Varanasi caught fire at the Sultanpur Railway Station in Uttar Pradesh, an official said. No casualty was reported in the matter.

These accidents add to the list of several rail accidents in India since Ashwini Vaishnav took charge as the Railway Minister in 2021, taking away over 329 lives.

An accident that occurred in Balasore in Odisha in June 2023 marked one of the worst-ever train crashes in India, that killed at least 296 people.

Also Read: 15 dead, 60 injured as goods train collides with Kanchanjunga Express

Train accidents since 2021

A look at some of the recent train accidents in India.

Guwahati-Howrah special express passenger train derailment: The Guwahati-Howrah special express passenger train derailed near Chaygaon railway station in Assam’s Kamrup (Rural) district on 25 August, 2021. According to Northeast Frontier (NF) Railway officials, there were no injuries in the incident.

LTT-Jaynagar Express derailment: 12 coaches of Lokmanya Tilak Terminus (LTT) -Jaynagar Pawan Express, operating between Mumbai and Bihar, derailed on 3 April, 2022. It injured two people.

Mumbai-Jodhpur Train derailed: 11 coaches of the Bandra Terminus-Jodhpur Suryanagari Express were impacted after a derailment incident near Pali in Rajasthan on 1 January, 2023.

Double-decker express train derailment: A double-decker express train heading towards Bengaluru derailed on 15 May, 2023, near Bisanattam station. No one was injured.

Balasore train accident: On 2 June, 2023, the Coromandel Express collided with a goods train in the Balasore district in Odisha. Due to its high speed, 21 of its coaches were derailed and three of them collided with SMVT Bengaluru–Howrah Superfast Express on the adjacent track.

Train accidents in India

The accident witnessed the death of at least 296 people.

Falaknuma Express fire: On 7 July, 2023, seven compartments of the Falaknuma Express caught fire between the Bommaipalli–Pagidipalli section of Guntur division near Bibinagar railway station in Telangana. Passengers were immediately evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Madurai railway yard fire: Nine passengers from Lucknow died after a fire broke out in a private IRCTC coach stationed at the Madurai railway junction on 26 August, 2023. Reports suggested that the fire erupted from a gas cylinder they used inside the coach.

Delhi-Kamakhya North East Express train derailment: The incident on Bihar’s Buxar claimed the lives of at least four passengers on 11 October, 2023. According to a Railway Police Force official, 70 others were reported injured after six coaches of the train derailed near the Raghunathpur station.

Vizianagaram train accident: On 29 October, 2023, the Rayagada Passenger train rammed into the Visakhapatnam Palasa train from behind in the Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh. It caused the death of at least 13 people and injured around 50 people.

Vaishnaw claimed that the accident occurred because the driver and assistant driver were engrossed in watching a cricket match on their mobile phone. However, no evidence in this regard was found.

Suheldev Superfast Express derailment: The Suheldev Superfast Express, en route from Ghazipur City to Anand Vihar in Delhi, suffered a derailment incident on 31 October, 2023, in the outer region of Prayagraj in Uttar Pradesh. No injuries were reported.

Apart from these several instances of derailment and security issues were also reported, including those of passenger trains and goods trains. Which fortunately did not result in any human injuries or deaths.

Two incidents inside trains were also reported during this period.

  • Three people including a baby died, and nine others suffered burns in a train arson in Kozhikode district on 2 April, 2023.On that day, accused Shahrukh Saifi — who was arrested later — had set his co-passengers on fire onboard the Alappuzha-Kannur Executive Express train when it reached Korapuzha bridge near Elathur in Kozhikode.
  • On 31 July, 2023, a Railway Protection Force (RPF) constable named Chetan Singh opened fire on the Mumbai Central–Jaipur Superfast Express train resulting in four people losing their lives, including an Assistant Sub-Inspector (ASI).

(Edited by Muhammed Fazil)

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