2016 claims more lives: Another train accident caps a terrible year for railway safety in India

Fogged out.
Fogged out.
Image: Reuters/Jitendra Prakash
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A little over a month after a train accident claimed at least 119 lives in Uttar Pradesh, the northern Indian state today woke up to another rail mishap.

At least two persons were killed and 28 others injured when 15 coaches of the Ajmer-Sealdah Express derailed near Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh, early in the morning on Dec. 28, the Hindustan Times newspaper reported. Two coaches of the train toppled off a bridge over a dry canal amid dense early morning fog. Eight of the injured persons are in a critical state, and rescue and relief work is still on at the accident site.

The government is monitoring the situation, railway minister Suresh Prabhu tweeted.

So far, 2016 has been a perilous year for India’s railways, which have a track length of 116,000 kilometres and ferry 23 million passengers (pdf) every day. On Nov. 20, the Indore-Patna Express train had derailed in Kanpur Dehat district of Uttar Pradesh, killing at least 119 people and injuring more than 150. This was the worst railway accident of 2016, according to The Economic Times. In 2015, India had seen only seven collisions and derailments, which claimed the lives of 65 people.

Today’s train accident comes just a day after two near-miss aviation incidents. Early on Dec. 27, a Jet Airways flight skidded off the runway during takeoff from Goa. Around 12 passengers sustained minor injuries during the evacuation process after the incident. Later in the morning, an Indigo aircraft came face-to-face with a SpiceJet plane at New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International Airport.