A tragic accident unfolded in West Bengal on Monday when a goods train collided with the rear of a stationary Kanchanjunga Express passenger train, resulting in at least 15 fatalities and dozens injured. The incident occurred in Darjeeling district, with railway authorities attributing the collision to driver error.

Images from the scene depicted a harrowing aftermath, with containers from the freight train scattered and one passenger carriage nearly perpendicular due to the impact. The accident, reminiscent of a previous rail disaster caused by a signaling error, saw rescuers retrieving fifteen bodies from the wreckage, as confirmed by senior police official Abhishek Roy.

Rescue operations involved teams from the police and national disaster response force, who worked tirelessly to clear debris and assist the 54 injured passengers. The collision caused three carriages of the Kanchanjunga Express, traveling from Tripura to Kolkata, to derail.

Efforts to free passengers trapped in the mangled train involved the use of iron rods and ropes, highlighting the challenging nature of the rescue operation. Among the casualties were the freight train’s driver and a guard from the passenger train, according to Jaya Varma Sinha, head of the railway board overseeing India’s extensive rail network.

Initial investigations pointed to the freight train’s driver disregarding a signal, leading to the fatal collision. Sinha indicated that while the guard’s compartment suffered significant damage, the presence of parcel vans ahead of it mitigated more extensive harm to passengers.

Local residents described hearing a loud crash and witnessing the aftermath, underscoring the shock and chaos following the incident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed condolences for the lives lost and assured that Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was en route to oversee the situation.

The tragic incident draws parallels to a previous rail disaster in Odisha, where 288 lives were lost due to a signal failure, marking India’s worst rail accident in over two decades. Opposition parties have criticized the government’s handling of rail safety, citing increased accidents as a consequence of mismanagement and negligence.

As authorities work to restore normalcy and investigate the cause of the collision, the focus remains on supporting the affected families and enhancing safety measures across India’s railway network.

The collision has left a profound impact on the local community, with families mourning the sudden loss of their loved ones during what should have been a time of celebration. Many of those affected were passengers traveling to Kolkata for Eid ul Adha festivities, highlighting the devastating toll of the accident on families and friends.

Rescuers and emergency responders worked tirelessly through the night, their efforts underscored by the tragic scenes of mangled train carriages and distraught survivors. The human stories emerging from the incident paint a picture of heartache and resilience as families grapple with the sudden loss of lives and injuries.


As the investigation continues and authorities work to provide support to the affected families, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the vulnerabilities within India’s railway infrastructure. Moving forward, there is a collective call for improved safety protocols, enhanced training for railway personnel, and rigorous enforcement of regulations to ensure the safety of passengers and crew alike.

In addition to derailments and collisions, other factors contributing to rail accidents include human error, mechanical failures, and infrastructure issues. These incidents not only disrupt railway operations but also pose significant risks to passenger safety and public confidence in the transportation system.

In the fiscal year 2022-23, a total of 48 rail accidents were reported, while 13 incidents occurred in 2023-24 as of July 2023. Despite derailments continuing to account for the majority of these accidents, there was an increase in the proportion of collisions involving trains in 2022-23 compared to previous years.

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