At least 14 passengers were killed and 95 injured when a Delhi-Gorakhpur express train today derailed and rammed into a stationary freight train near a railway station here, with officials saying that the death toll may rise to 40.
Six bogies of the Gorakhpur-bound Gorakhdham Express train were damaged in the accident which occurred at around 10.35 AM near Churaib railway station, railway officials and district administration said.
Preliminary reports said fractured rails could be the cause of the accident, according to railway sources.
"As many as 14 passengers were killed in the accident and the number of injured is 95, some of whom some are in serious condition," police said.
Till late in the night, Railways put the toll at 11 dead and 83 injured.
However, the UP Home Department said in a statement in Lucknow that at least 40 people were feared killed in the accident.
Rescue workers struggled to extricate the passengers trapped in the mangled bogies which had overturned following the collision. Paramilitary personnel were called in to assist in the operations.
An inquiry by Commissioner of Railway Safety North East Circle P K Bajpayee has been ordered, Chairman Railway Board Arunendra Kumar said, adding, the exact cause of the accident will be ascertained only after it is completed.
CPRO of North-Eastern Railway Alok Singh said the train derailed and the bogies crashed into the goods train, which was standing on the adjoining track.
Six bogies-- AC-I and AC-II and four general coaches-- were affected in the accident, he said, adding rescue operations were continuing late in the night.
Rail driver Lakshmi Narayan Singh and guard R K Chauhan were injured and admitted to a hospital. However, assistant loco-pilot Kumar Ravi Ranjan was missing, the CPRO said.
Rail traffic between Delhi and Gorakhpur was hit and a number of trains diverted, railway officials said.
President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and other leaders expressed grief over the loss of lives.
Modi spoke to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and asked him to take an overview of the situation to ensure timely assistance to the injured.
Railways has declared compensation of Rs one lakh to the next of the kin of dead and Rs 50,000 for those who sustained grievous injuries, besides Rs 10,000 to passengers who suffered minor injuries.
The state government has announced free treatment to the injured and hospitals have been put on alert.
Sant Kabir Nagar is about 242 km from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow and over 700 km from national capital Delhi.
Emergency helpline numbers in Delhi and Gorakhpur have been activated.