Runaway EMU train collides with freight train in India

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Friday, May 1, 2009

At approximately 06:00 a.m. (00:30 GMT) Wednesday, between four and seven people were killed when an Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) passenger train crashed into a stationary freight train at Vyasarpadi Jeeva station, in Chennai, India. Between eleven and twenty persons were injured, and rushed to General Hospital in Chennai.

Chennai rail and bus network
Image: PlaneMad/Wikipedia.

Officials are unsure of the number of persons aboard the passenger train, which was operated by an unknown person. "It is not clear who operated (it)," said S. Jayanth, acting general manager of Southern Railway. The operator of the EMU train was not in the train when it left 15 minutes to half an hour before the scheduled departure time. It is said some passengers did board the passenger train.

The EMU train ignored all signals, and drove about 7 kilometers (4 mi) at high speed, jumping tracks, before colliding with the goods train.

The driver of the goods train, Arumugam, has been confirmed as one of those who has died. The goods train was traveling between Arakkonam to Chennai. The motorman, guard and assistant jumped from the goods train sustaining fractures.

"We heard a loud noise and saw several compartments in flames. The smell emanating from bodies from the mangled coaches was nauseating," said M.N. Selvi, a nearby resident.

The platforms at the Vyasarpadi Jeeva station were destroyed, and electrical cables were torn down. The EMU train caught fire in the collision destroying two compartments completely. The other compartments were thrown from the tracks. The freight train was loaded with oil tanks, however reports indicate that only the EMU train was set ablaze.

All train services were canceled for a time on one of the busiest rail lines of India. "Train services are disrupted due to the mishap but we hope to restore the services in two to three hours time," an Indian Railways spokesperson.

Railways Minister Lalu Prasad announced that an inquiry will be held.


Sources

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