Kanchanjunga Express Derails After Goods Train Hits It; Claims 8 Lives, Several Injured

The collision led to the derailment of three coaches of the Kanchanjunga Express. Fortunately, the rear part of the train, comprising the cargo van and the guard’s coach, absorbed much of the impact, limiting the casualties among passengers in the front compartments.

Kanchanjunga Express Passenger train derailed in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal earlier today when a goods train allegedly rammed into it. The accident resulted in the deaths of eight individuals, including three railway employees. According to reports, the crash of the two trains left approximately 25 others injured. The Kanchanjunga Express was reportedly traveling from Silchar in Assam to Sealdah in Kolkata when the goods train that collided with it from behind near Rangapani station, close to New Jalpaiguri.

The collision led to the derailment of three coaches of the Kanchanjunga Express. Fortunately, the rear part of the train, comprising the cargo van and the guard’s coach, absorbed much of the impact, limiting the casualties among passengers in the front compartments.

Railway Board Chairperson Jaya Verma Sinha briefed the media, confirming that the accident took place around 9 a.m. “The rescue work is complete. The injured have been shifted to the North Bengal medical college and they are being provided the best possible treatment,” she stated. Sinha also mentioned that the unaffected front portion of the Kanchanjunga Express would soon resume its journey to ensure that the remaining passengers reach their designated destinations.

In the aftermath of the tragic incident, Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee took to her social media handle on X, formerly Twitter and expressed her shock. She additionally assured that doctors and disaster response teams were immediately dispatched to the site. Shocked to learn, just now, about a tragic train accident, in Phansidewa area of Darjeeling district. While details are awaited, Kanchenjunga Express has reportedly been hit by a goods train. DM, SP, doctors, ambulances and disaster teams have been rushed to the site for rescue, recovery, medical assistance. Action on war-footing initiated,” she posted.

The Kanchanjunga Express serves as a crucial link between Bengal and the northeastern cities of Silchar and Agartala, traveling through the strategically significant Chicken’s Neck corridor. This route connects the Northeast with the rest of India, and the accident may disrupt the movement of other trains on this line. Reports stated that the goods train allegedly overshot the signal which led to its crashing into Kanchanjunga Express.

The Indian Railways were swift to released helpline numbers on which people could seek information about the situation immediately after the accident took place. The numbers released are  033-23508794 and 033-23833326 (Sealdah) and 03612731621, 03612731622 and 03612731623 at Guwahati.

Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw was also reportedly headed to the accident site His post on X read, “Unfortunate accident in NFR zone. Rescue operations going on at war footing. Railways, NDRF and SDRF are working in close coordination. Injured are being shifted to the hospital. Senior officials have reached site.”

Vaishnaw announced that the railway ministry would provide compensation of ₹10 lakh to the families of the deceased, ₹2.5 lakh for those with serious injuries, and ₹50,000 for those with minor injuries. Northeast Frontier Railway’s Chief Public Relations Officer, Sabyasachi De, confirmed that no diversions or cancellations of other trains on the route had been issued yet. He assured that rescue operations were being prioritized.

The incident was also acknowledged by President Droupadi Murmu as expressed her grief over the tragedy, stating, “The news of the loss of lives due to a train accident in Darjeeling, West Bengal is deeply distressing. My thoughts and prayers are with the bereaved families. I pray for the speedy recovery of the injured and success of relief and rescue operations.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi also conveyed his condolences, saying, “The railway accident in West Bengal is saddening. Condolences to those who lost their loved ones. I pray that the injured recover at the earliest. Spoke to officials and took stock of the situation. Rescue operations are underway to assist the affected. The Railways Minister Shri @AshwiniVaishnaw Ji is on the way to the site of the mishap as well.” The Prime Minister’s Office announced a compensation of ₹2 lakh for the families of the deceased and ₹50,000 for those injured.

Congress President Mallikarjun Kharge expressed his distress over the accident, calling the scenes painful and extending solidarity and condolences to the victims’ families. He criticized the government, alleging mismanagement of the Railway Ministry and accusing it of using the ministry for self-promotion. “The scenes of the accident are painful. Our heart goes out to the families of the victims. In this hour of grief, we express our solidarity and condolences to each one of them. We wish a speedy recovery to the injured. Immediate and full compensation must be provided to the victims,” he stated.

“As a responsible Opposition, it is our bounden duty to underline how the Modi Govt has systematically converted the Rail Ministry into a platform of ‘Camera-driven’ self-promotion! Today’s tragedy is yet another reminder of this stark reality,” he further added.

Also Read: West Bengal Train Accident LIVE Updates: 8 Killed Several Injured, Rescue Operation Underway