Six bogies of the Gorakhpur-bound Gorakhdham Express train were damaged in the accident which occurred at around 10 AM near Churaib railway station, railway officials and district administration said. "As many as 11 passengers have been killed in the accident and the number of injured is over 100," district magistrate Bharat Lal said.
However, the UP Home Department said in a statement in Lucknow that at least 40 people were feared killed in the accident. Rescue workers struggled to extricate the passengers trapped in the mangled bogies which had overturned following the collision. Paramilitary personnel were called in to assist in the operations.
An inquiry by Commissioner of Railway Safety North East Circle P K Bajpayee has been ordered, Chairman Railway Board Arunendra Kumar said, adding, the exact cause of the accident is yet to be ascertained. CPRO of North-Eastern Railway Alok Singh said the train derailed and the bogies crashed into the goods train, which was standing on the adjoining track.
Six bogies were affected in the accident, he said, adding rescue operations were continuing late in the night. Rail traffic between Delhi and Gorakhpur was hit and a number of trains diverted, railway officials said. President Pranab Mukherjee, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and other leaders expressed grief over the loss of lives.
Modi spoke to Cabinet Secretary Ajit Seth and asked him to take an overview of the situation to ensure timely assistance to the injured. Railways has declared compensation of Rs one lakh to the next of the kin of dead and Rs 50,000 for those who sustained grievous injuries, besides Rs 10,000 to passengers who suffered minor injuries.
The state government has announced free treatment to the injured and hospitals have been put on alert. Sant Kabir Nagar is about 242 km from Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow and over 700 km from national capital Delhi. Emergency helpline numbers in Delhi and Gorakhpur have been activated.