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Watch: Workers clear the wreckage from the train tracks following the fatal train accident on Friday

Indian Train Accident in Odisha 2023: Likely Cause, Casualties and Others

Indian Train Accident: Two passenger trains derailed in India, resulting in over 200 fatalities, more than 900 injuries, and numerous people trapped inside damaged rail cars.

India’s extensive railway network, with 14,000 trains carrying 12 million passengers daily on 64,000 kilometres of track, experiences several hundred accidents each year. Most accidents are attributed to human error or outdated signalling equipment. Here are some notable train crashes in recent decades:

October 2018: In northern India, a train ran over a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival, causing at least 60 deaths and numerous injuries on the outskirts of Amritsar.

November 2016: A passenger train travelling between Indore and Patna derailed, resulting in over 146 fatalities and more than 200 injuries.

July 2011: A passenger train derailed near Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh, claiming the lives of 68 people and leaving 239 passengers injured.

Watch: Workers clear the wreckage from the train tracks following the fatal train accident on Friday
Watch: Workers clear the wreckage from the train tracks
following the fatal train accident on Friday

May 2010: In West Bengal, a passenger train derailed and was struck by a cargo train, causing 145 deaths. Authorities attributed the crash to sabotage by Maoist rebels.

October 2005: A passenger train plunged into a rain-swollen river in Veligonda, Andhra Pradesh, claiming the lives of at least 111 people after floods washed away the tracks.

September 2002: An express train travelling from Calcutta to New Delhi derailed and fell into a river, resulting in a minimum of 121 fatalities. The accident occurred south of Patna, the capital of Bihar state.

August 1999: A head-on collision between two trains in Gauhati resulted in the deaths of over 285 people.

November 1998: In the town of Khanna, two trains collided, causing 210 fatalities. The crash occurred when a passenger train collided with cars that had become uncoupled from another train.

August 1995: Near New Delhi, two trains collided, causing the deaths of 358 people. One of the trains had stopped after hitting a cow.

Indian Train Accident in Odisha: Causes

According to India’s railway minister, a signal fault may have caused the Odisha rail disaster, with a probable “change in electronic interlocking” being the root cause. However, the minister did not provide further details about the cause or the individuals responsible for the tragic three-train crash in eastern India.

The Railway Board of India stated that there was “some kind of signalling interference” rather than a failure in the system. A comprehensive report on the incident, which is the deadliest railway accident in India this century, is expected to be released soon.


The death toll has been revised to 275 after some bodies were counted twice, and there are still families searching for missing loved ones. The crash occurred when a passenger train was mistakenly directed onto a loop track beside the main line, colliding with a stationary good train and derailing.

The derailed carriages then struck the rear carriages of another passenger train travelling in the opposite direction. The Railway Board confirmed that both passenger trains had approached the station under a green signal, but due to the incorrect routing, the Coromandel Express collided with the goods train on the loop line.

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The investigation indicates that there was no issue with the electronic interlocking system, but rather “some kind of signalling interference” occurred. The specific cause, whether manual, incidental, weather-related, or maintenance-related, will be determined by the inquiry.

According to infrastructure expert Partha Mukhopadhyay, it should not be possible for green signals to be displayed on the main line if the track is set for the loop, highlighting a significant failure in the signal interlocking system.

Mukhopadhyay, affiliated with the Centre for Policy Research, a Delhi-based think tank, described this level of failure as unprecedented. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the crash site on Saturday and promised strict punishment for those found guilty.

Approximately 2,000 people were believed to be on board the two passenger trains involved in the collision—the Coromandel Express travelling between Kolkata and Chennai, and the Howrah Superfast Express travelling from Yesvantpur to Howrah—when the incident occurred around 19:00 local time on Friday.

At least 187 bodies remained unidentified, and officials in Odisha state were uploading pictures of the victims on government websites while preparing for DNA testing, if necessary.

Rescue operations concluded on Saturday, and efforts were underway to clear the wreckage and resume train services. India possesses one of the world’s largest train networks, with millions of passengers relying on it daily.

However, much of the railway infrastructure requires improvement. During school holidays, trains in India often become extremely crowded as the number of people travelling increases.

The most catastrophic train disaster in India’s history took place in 1981 when an overcrowded passenger train was swept off the tracks and into a river during a cyclone in Bihar state, resulting in the deaths of approximately 800 people.

Graphic Images Released by India Authorities as Families Pray for Miracle

Following the train crash in Odisha, authorities have released graphic images of several bodies to assist families in identifying their loved ones. The Odisha government aims to help families locate the remains of the victims.

The names of approximately 300 injured passengers who are still hospitalized have also been made available. Preliminary investigations suggest that an error in the electronic signalling system is the most likely cause of the crash, which resulted in the deaths of at least 275 people and left over 1,100 injured.

India’s railways’ minister, who has faced calls for resignation from the opposition, supervised the resumption of train services on Sunday night after about 51 hours of rescue and restoration efforts.

Ashwini Vaishnaw stated that the authorities are continuing their work to facilitate the identification of missing persons by their family members as quickly as possible.

The incident, involving two crowded passenger express trains and a stationary freight train, has sparked outrage throughout India regarding the management of the country’s extensive rail network, which serves 22 million people on a daily basis.

Indian Train Accident: Related Posts and Links

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Tadese Faforiji

I am Tadese Faforiji, a history student of the prestigious Adekunle Ajasin University, Akungba-Akoko, Ondo State- 21st-century University, properly called. I am a blogger and an avid writer.