Kanchanjunga accident: Many trains cancelled, repair work continues at crash site

Several trains have been cancelled or diverted after a Kanchanjunga Express was rammed from behind by a goods train in Bengal's Siliguri, killing nine people and injuring many others. Meanwhile, repair work continues at the crash site, even as train services resumed on its adjacent track.
Kanchanjunga accident: Many trains cancelled, repair work continues at crash site
Anjali Raj / Jaano Junction

Several trains have been cancelled or diverted after a Kanchanjunga Express was hit from behind by a goods train in Bengal's Siliguri on Monday, killing nine people and injuring several others.

The train, meanwhile, reached its destination in Kolkata's Sealdah at 3.16 am on Tuesday after undergoing restoration work. The mangled compartments of the train remain at the crash site, where repair work is underway and efforts continue to remove the remains.

The Kanchanjunga Express, which was rammed by a goods train from behind in Bengal's Siliguri on Monday, reached its destination in Kolkata's Sealdah at 3.16 am following restoration work. Meanwhile, repari work continues to remove the train's mangled coaches at the crash site.

Initially, the Railway Board said the goods driver overshot the signal, causing the massive collision. However, internal documents later showed that the automatic signalling system on the stretch where the accident occurred wasn't working since Monday morning, and the driver was cleared to cross red signals.

Here are the latest developments in the Kanchanjunga train tragedy in Bengal:

Passengers, who survived the deadly collision, were seen breaking down as the Kanchanjunga Express reached Sealdah in the early hours of Tuesday. Kolkata Mayor Firhad Hakim was seen consoling a male passenger who cried profusely. Hakim also interacted with other passengers as they departed the station.

Train services resumed from the Phansidewa area of the Darjeeling district where the accident happened on Monday. A Kamakhya Express train was seen passing on an adjacent line to the one where the crash took place.

Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), Katihar Northeast Frontier Railway, Subhendu Kumar Choudhary said that the restoration work has been going on at the crash site since yesterday, and it is expected for operations to go back to normal today itself.

Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who visited the injured passengers admitted at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital (NBMCH) in Siliguri, slammed the Centre for neglecting the Railways, saying they only engaged in publicity of Vande Bharat trains. She added that when she was the Railways Minister, she "ensured the anti-collision device was prepared and started" having seen "2-3 major train accidents".

Bengal BJP chief Sukanta Majumdar hit back at Mamata Banerjee over her remark on anti-collision device being installed during her time as the Railways Minister. "This is not the time for politics... Being a Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee claiming that she has introduced the anti-collision device is absolutely ridiculous," Majumdar told news agency ANI on Monday after meeting the injured passengers.

Divisional Railway Manager Sealdah, Deepak Nigam, said that doctors and Railways Protection Force teams have been deployed at the station to assist the passengers of the Kanchanjunga Express. "We have ambulances also on standby, if needed we will use them. Medical booths are also here to guide the passengers," he told news agency ANI.

The chairperson of the Railway Board, Jaya Varma Sinha, said at a press briefing on Monday that the collision took place because the goods train driver overshot the signal and hit the Kanchanjunga Express. She added that a guard's coach and two parcel vans of the Kanchanjunga Express were destroyed, preventing damage to passenger coaches.

However, sources told India Today that the goods train was given a written authority 'TA 912' by the station master of Ranipatra, allowing him to cross all red signals between Ranipatra station and Chattar Hat Junction as the automatic signalling system between the two points had not been working since Monday morning.

Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw, who visited the accident site, told reporters after taking stock of the situation that the Commissioner of Railway Safety (CRS) had begun an investigation into the cause of the accident. The Congress, however, has demanded the resignation of Vaishnaw while flagging the "mismanagement" of the ministry.

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Kanchanjunga accident: Many trains cancelled, repair work continues at crash site

A financial aid of Rs 2 lakh from the Prime Minister's Relief Fund (PMNRF) has been announced for the families of the deceased, and Rs 50,000 for those injured. Meanwhile, Ashwini Vaishnaw announced financial aid of Rs 10 lakh to the families of the deceased, Rs 2.5 lakh for those grievously injured and Rs 50,000 for those who sustained minor injuries.

Source: India Today

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