Chitheri (TN): Nine persons were killed and 100 others injured when a speeding passenger train rammed into a stationary train here, leading to derailment of five coaches.
The Chennai Beach-Vellore Cantonment Mainline Electrical Multiple Unit (MEMU) train rammed into the Arakkonam-Katpadi passenger from behind as it was waiting for a signal at Chitheri station, about 90 kms from Chennai, around 9.40 pm on Tuesday night, police and railway officials said.
Of the nine killed, bodies of seven have been recovered and efforts were on to retrieve the other two buried under the mangled bogies, IG North Zone Shailendra Babu said.
He said nearly 100 people including the driver of the MEMU train were injured and of them 83 were admitted to nearby Arakkonam Government hospital. Later, 25 injured were shifted to Chennai for treatment, he said, adding “all of them are out of danger”.
Southern Railway general manager Deepak Krishnan said the MEMU driver had apparently ignored the signal and speed restrictions.
The Arakonam-Katpadi passenger was waiting for the signal. Being an automatic signalling territory, trains move one after another in this section, he said.
“Normally the previous signal would be danger (red). But apparently the MEMU train driver has not adhered to the signal,” he said.
Officials said the last bogie of the stationary passenger train bore the brunt under the impact of the collision.
This is the third major accident in two months. On 10 July, 70 people were killed when the Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Kanpur and three weeks later some coaches of Guwahati-Bangalore Express derailed in West Bengal’s Malda district and were hit by another train leaving three dead.
The impact of the collision could be gauged from the heap of mangled metal and derailed bogies which the rescue workers are trying to clear.
Personnel of Tamil Nadu Commando police, Special police and National Disaster Response Force besides Naval personnel from the nearby INS Rajali base have been deployed for rescue and relief works, which were initially hampered by heavy rains and poor light.
Passengers’ bags and other belongings and metal parts of the train were seen strewn around the site which become slushy because of heavy overnight rains.
The accident disrupted running of several trains to Coimbatore and Bangalore in the Chennai-Katpadi section and both the up and down track were expected to be restored by around 6 pm on Wednesday, they said.
Tamil Nadu health minister Dr V. S. Vijay visited the accident spot on Tuesday night along with district officials and reviewed the relief measures.