Before Kanchanjunga Express, Major Train Accidents Over The Last Few Years

Here is a look at some of the major train accidents over the last few years

New Jalpaiguri: A train runs through the accident area following restoration of services a day after the collision between the Kanchanjunga Express and a goods train, near Rangapani railway station, Tuesday, June 18, 2024. Atleast 10 people died and several others were injured in the accident, according to officials. Photo: - PTI

Three rear coaches of the stationary Sealdah-bound Kanchanjunga Express derailed on Monday morning as a goods train collided with it in West Bengal’s Darjeeling district, killing at least 16 people and injuring over 60 others. The incident comes almost a year after a three-train collision in Odisha’s Balasore that left 296 dead and over 1,200 injured in what was India’s worst rail accident in over two decades.

Preliminary reports from the ground suggested that the loco pilot of the goods train may have overshot its signal. No confirmation was, however, received on whether there were problems with the signaling system or explanations given on how the two trains could come so close to each other on a single track. 

Here is a look at some of the major train accidents over the last few years:

Odisha triple train collision – June 2023

One of the deadliest train accidents in the country, the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express derailed near Bahanaga Station in Odisha's Balasore in June 2023. A third train, a goods train, was also involved in the accident as derailed coaches of a passenger train collided with it. At least 261 people were killed and over 1,000 injured.  Within 12 hours of the accident, a joint-inspection team noted that prima facie, there was a signalling error that led to the incident.

Bikaner-Guwahati Express derailment – January 2022

At least 12 coaches of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express derailed in Alipurduar, West Bengal, leaving nine people dead and over 40 others injured. According to the CRS, the cause of the derailment was “Failure of equipment (locomotive)”.

Pukhrayan train accident – November 2016

Fourteen coaches of the Indore–Rajendra Nagar Express derailed at Pukhrayan, approximately 60 km from Kanpur on November 20, 2016, killing 152 people and injuring 260 others. The death toll was one of the highest for railway accidents in recent years. The final CRS report, which came out in 2020, pointed to a sudden catastrophic mechanical failure as the “probable cause” for the accident.

Jnaneswari Express accident – May 2010

On May 28, 2010, The Mumbai-bound Jnaneswari Express train derailed near Jhargram in the West Midnapore district of West Bengal and was then hit by an oncoming goods train around 1 a.m. The accident killed 148 passengers and injured over 200 others. Authorities said the derailment was the result of alleged sabotage by Maoists. The incident took place soon after a four-day bandh called by the CPI (Maoist) had begun.

Rafiganj incident – September 2002

On September 9, 2002, the Howrah Rajdhani Express derailed over a bridge on the Dhave river in Rafiganj in Bihar, killing over 140 people. Almost a month later, the Maoist Communist Centre (a Naxalite outfit that operated in Bihar), took responsibility for the sabotage. 

Gaisal train collision – August 1999

In one of the worst train disasters in the world, two trains carrying 2,500 people collided at the station of Gaisal, located on the Bihar-Bengal border and about 500 km from Kolkata, killing over 400 people. The trains actually exploded on collision around midnight. The then Railway Minister, Nitish Kumar, took moral responsibility for the accident and tendered his resignation.