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Train crash in fog kills three

Lucknow, Jan. 16: Hurtling down the tracks enveloped by thick fog this morning, a train bound for Kanpur rammed into the rear coach of the stationary Shram Shakti Express, leaving three dead.

At least 14 people were injured in the accident that occurred around 8.15am near Tundla junction when the driver of the speeding Bhiwani-Kanpur Central Kalindi Express failed to spot the stationary train and crashed head into tail.

The guard’s brakevan and the adjoining coach of the Shram Shakti Express, on a run from Delhi to Kanpur, bore the brunt of the impact. All those killed were travelling in the mangled last bogey of the stationary train.

“Three persons are believed to have been killed and 14 injured,” North Central Railway spokesperson R.D. Vajpai said.

“Two women and a child, all were killed. They were on the Shram Shakti Express,” said N.G. Ravi Kumar, the district magistrate of Firozabad under which Tundla falls.

Among those injured are the driver and assistant driver of the Kalindi Express and the guard of the stationary train.

“Rescue operations have nearly been completed and the 14 injured are being treated at a hospital in Agra (60km from Tundla). Most of the injured are women,” the district magistrate said.

Kumar said that though fog appeared to be one of the factors, the railways would find out after an inquiry if the villain was a faulty signal system, the cause of many accidents in India.

Four persons have been suspended following a preliminary inquiry by the railway ministry which held them prima facie guilty of negligence. They are divisional railway manager, Allahabad, S.K. Aggarwal, senior divisional mechanical engineer, Northern Railway, Vineet Singh, and the two drivers of the Kalindi Express, Ram Prakash and Satpal Singh Yadav.

Railway officials said the Shram Shakti Express was running behind schedule and was supposed to reach Kanpur around 6am.

Sources said the commissioner of railway safety, P.K. Vajpayee, would start the probe shortly. On the instructions of railway minister Mamata Banerjee, three senior officials of North Central Railway have reached the accident site, ministry spokesperson Anil Kumar Saxena said.

On January 2, 10 people were killed and 45 injured in three train accidents in Uttar Pradesh amid dense fog and near zero visibility conditions.

The railway ministry has also announced Rs 5 lakh compensation to the next of kin of the deceased.

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