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From Bagmati Disaster To Odisha Tragedy, These Are The Worst Indian Train Accidents

At least 261 people were killed and around 900 were injured in the Odisha train accident on Friday evening.

Odisha Train Accident
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A triple-train accident in Odisha killed at least 261 people and injured around 900 on Friday evening. 

The accident happened at around 7 pm when the Bengaluru-Howrah Superfast Express and the Shalimar-Chennai Central Coromandel Express derailed near Bahanaga Station in Odisha's Balasore. A third train, a goods train, was also involved in the accident as derailed coaches of a passenger train collided with it.

Railway Spokesperson Amitabh Sharma told PTI Video that the Coromandel Express derailed first, and its 10-12 coaches fell on the line on which the Bengaluru-Howrah Express was travelling, forcing it to jump off the tracks.

The Odisha train accident is the worst in recent years and has brought back memories of similar accidents from the past. 

Trains remain the mainstay for long-range as well short-range travel for a large section of the Indian population. Affordable as well as accessible, the trains network is popular with people, but has been infamous for being overcrowded and under-funded. 

Here are some of the worst Indian train accident over the years before the Odisha tragedy:

Dhanushkodi train disaster, 1964

A massive cylone hit Dhanushkodi in Tamil Nadu on December 23, 1964. 

The Pamban–Dhanushkodi passenger train was washed away by the Rameswaram cyclone, killing over 126 passengers on board.

The town itself was destroyed by the cyclone and was abandoned after the government declared it unfit for living.

Bagmati train disaster, 1981

India recorded its worst rail disaster on June 6, 1981 in Bihar when a train plunged into Bagmati River. At least around 750 were killed. 

The overcrowded train derailed on a bridge over Bagmati River at Bihar's Balaghat and fell into the river.

The exact death toll could not be ascertained as bodies were in the river and many passengers were reportedly on the roof or floor of the trains as well.

"As the waterlogged bodies were fished out one by one, official estimates regarding the death toll varied from 800 to 2,000. It was impossible to assess the number of passengers since the train including four large marriage parties was packed like a sardine tin. Some reports said that hundreds of passengers were travelling perched on the roof or on the footboards," said a report in India Today.

Firozabad train accident, 1995

A total of 310 persons were officially declared dead in a train accident near Firozbad in Uttar Pradesh in 1995.

On August 20, 1995, the Purushottam Express collided with the stationary Kalindi Express near Firozabad. 

After the accident, the government informed the parliament in 1996 that signal circuits were being modified at the time to ensure admission of only one train on a running line. Additionally, measures like intensified inspections and the introduction of improved communication were also said to be in motion.

Khanna train accident, 1998

An accident involving two trains at Khanna, Punjab killed 212 people in 1998. 

On November 26, 1998, the Jammu Tawi–Sealdah Express collided with three derailed coaches of the Frontier Golden Temple Mail in Khanna in Punjab.

In the Odisha accident too, the second train is said to have collided into the derailed coaches of the first passenger train.

Gaisal train disaster, 1999

The Gaisal train disaster in 1999 killed more than 285 people and injuring over 300.

On August 2, 1999, the Gaisal train disaster occurred when the Brahmaputra Mail crashed into the stationary Avadh Assam Express at Gaisal station in North Frontier Railway's Katihar division. Many of the victims were Army, BSF, or CRPF personnel.

The Rafiganj incident, 2002

The Rafiganj incident in 2002 involving the Howrah Rajdhani Express led to the deaths of over 140 people. 

On September 9, 2002, the Rafiganj train wreck occurred when the Howrah Rajdhani Express derailed over a bridge on the Dhave river in Rafiganj in Bihar.

It was termed as a terrorist act. The then-Railway Board chairman IIMS Rana said at the time that either Pakistan-based elements or the Maoists were responsible for the incident.

"At a late night press conference in the capital, Rana based his allegation on what the "local people" told him. According to him, the Pakistan intelligence agency ISI or the local Naxalite outfit, the Maoist Coordination Centre (MCC), was responsible for removing fishplates some 50 metres ahead of the bridge over the river Dhawa, which caused the train to derail," reported The Times of India at the time.

The Jnaneswari Express accident, 2010

The Jnaneswari Express derailed and was hit by a goods train in 2010. The accident killed 148 passengers.

On May 28, 2010, The Mumbai-bound Jnaneswari Express train derailed near Jhargram and was then hit by an oncoming goods train.

Hampi Express mishap, 2012

A cargo train and the Hubli-Bangalore Hampi Express collided in Andhra Pradesh, leading to the derailment of four bogies and one catching fire. 

Approximately 25 fatalities and 43 injuries were reported at the time.

Gorakhdham Express Collision, 2014

The Gorakhdham Express collided with a halted goods train near Khalilabad station in Sant Kabir Nagar, Uttar Pradesh. 

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The collision resulted in 25 fatalities and over 50 injuries.

Pukhrayan train accident, 2016

The Indore–Rajendra Nagar Express derailed at Pukhrayan near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh in 2016. A total of 152 people were killed and 260 were injured.

The Pukhrayan train derailment occurred when 14 coaches of the Indore–Rajendra Nagar Express derailed at Pukhrayan, approximately 60 km from Kanpur.

Utkal Express derailment, 2017

The Puri-Haridwar Utkal Express derailed in Muzaffarnagar, resulting in 23 fatalities and nearly 60 injuries.

Bikaner-Guwahati Express derailment, 2022

At least 12 coaches of the Bikaner-Guwahati Express derailed in Alipurduar, West Bengal, leaving nine people dead and 36 others injured.

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(With PTI inputs)

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