List of deadliest train disasters in Indian Railways' history
If you go back to the days of early 2000s, you will remember Durga Puja committees and Kalipuja Committees of Silchar building replica of Gaisal train accident. A signal failure that resulted in devastating train accident claiming hundreds of lives. The accident occurred when the Brahmaputra Mail collided into the stationary Avadh Assam Express at Gaisal station in North Frontier Railway’s Katihar division, killing at least 285 and injuring more than 300. It occured on August 2, 1999.
Cut to current context, in the last couple of days, people of this country got exposed to the bloodbath on the tracks of Orissa. Many have argued in favour of this being the worst train mishap in the history of Independent India. The involvement of three trains indeed substantiates the argument, but the whooping death toll of 288 is not the highest.
Listed down below are the major train disasters that occured in India chronologically :
December 23, 1964: The Pamban-Dhanuskodi Cyclone Disaster
In a horrific encounter with nature’s fury, the Pamban-Dhanuskodi passenger train was swept away by the raging Rameswaram cyclone. Over 126 passengers on board lost their lives as the cyclonic winds and waves engulfed the ill-fated train.
June 6, 1981: The Bihar Train Derailment Tragedy
Etched in the annals of Indian Railways as the deadliest accident, tragedy struck when a train tumbled into the treacherous waters of the Bagmati River. The train’s derailment on a bridge resulted in the loss of more than 750 lives, leaving the nation mourning the immense loss of human lives.
August 20, 1995: The Firozabad Rail Disaster
On a fateful day near Firozabad, catastrophe struck when the Purushottam Express collided with the stationary Kalindi Express. The collision claimed the lives of approximately 305 passengers, leaving families shattered and communities in mourning.
November 26, 1998: The Khanna Rail Disaster
At Khanna, tragedy unfolded when the Jammu Tawi-Sealdah Express collided with three derailed coaches of the Frontier Golden Temple Mail. The collision resulted in the unfortunate demise of 212 individuals, leaving a lasting scar on the hearts of their loved ones.
September 9, 2002: The Rafiganj Train Wreck
In a horrifying incident, the Howrah Rajdhani Express derailed on a bridge between Gaya and Dehri-on-Sone stations. Two coaches plunged into a river, claiming the lives of over 140 people. Authorities attributed the incident to terrorist sabotage, amplifying the sense of shock and grief.
May 28, 2010: The Jnaneswari Express Train Derailment
Suspected to be an act of terror, the Jnaneswari Express fell victim to a horrendous attack. An explosion derailed the train, after which an oncoming freight train collided with the stranded coaches. At least 140 lives were lost, and approximately 200 people sustained injuries, with suspicions pointing towards Maoist involvement. Mamata Banerjee was the Union Railway Minister at that time.
November 20, 2016: The Pukhrayan Train Derailment
A heart-wrenching incident unfolded near Kanpur, as the Indore-Rajendra Nagar Express derailed at Pukhrayan, leaving 152 passengers dead and 260 injured. The tragedy shook the nation and raised concerns over rail safety and maintenance practices.
These incidents serve as stark reminders of the perils associated with rail travel and the urgent need for enhanced safety measures. The Indian Railways, in collaboration with government agencies and concerned stakeholders, must continue to prioritise the implementation of robust safety protocols, infrastructure upgrades, and stringent maintenance practices to prevent further loss of precious lives on the tracks.
As we pay homage to the victims and extend our deepest condolences to the families affected by the Coromandel Express accident, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that every train journey in India becomes a safe and secure experience for all passengers.