Chennai, Sept 13: At least 11 people were killed and over 100 injured when two trains collided near Chennai on Tuesday evening. The accident happened near Arakkonam when Chennai Beach-Vellore Cantonment train rammed the stationary Arakkonam-Katpadi passenger train at about 9:30 pm.
The accident happened at a point between Melpakkam and Chitheri stations near Arakkonam. The Arakkonam-Katpadi train was waiting for signal when it was hit by the Vellore-bound train.
The exact cause of accident is not known yet. Railway officials suspect it to be a case of over-speeding, but say it is too early to speculate on what exactly caused the accident. Railway authorities have also said that the train that collided skipped signals and its driver jumped out before the collision.
Five bogies of the stationary train and three bogies of the moving train derailed after the accident. Many passengers were trapped in these bogies but reports suggest most of them have been pulled out safely.
Rescue operations and clearing of tracks is still on. Overnight rain and darkness hampered the rescue work, but it resumed after rain stopped this morning.
More than 100 police officials and firemen are involved in the rescue efforts. Navy personnel and two teams of the National Disaster Relief Force (NDRF) are also at the site.
The injured were rushed to Arakkonam and Vellore government hospitals, and also to hospitals in Kancheepuram. Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi will visit the site soon with senior officials. He has announced a compensation of Rs. 5 lakh for the families of those killed and Rs. 2 lakh for those seriously injured.
The accident has disrupted rail traffic on the busy Chennai-Katpadi sector with two trains being cancelled and many others diverted. Train services are expected to resume by this evening. Southern Railways has set up special help desks and helplines for information for those travelling.
This is the third rail mishap since July this year. Seventy people were killed when the Howrah-Kalka Mail derailed near Kanpur on July 10. Three weeks later, some coaches of Guwahati-Bangalore Express jumped the tracks in Malda district of West Bengal and were hit by another train leaving three persons dead.
Chennai Helpline numbers: 044 25357398, 044 25347771, 09244919572