16 Dead, 60 Injured As Trains Collide in Bangladesh

Bystanders look on after a train collided with another train in Brahmanbaria some 130 kms from Dhaka on November 12, 2019. Two packed trains rammed into each other in Bangladesh on November 12, killing at least 16 people and injuring nearly 60 others, police said.
STR / AFP

 

Two packed trains rammed into each other in Bangladesh on Tuesday, killing at least 16 people and injuring nearly 60 others, police said.

Three coaches were sent crashing off the tracks at Mondobhag station in the town of Kasba when a Dhaka-bound train and a locomotive bound for Chittagong collided.

“At least 16 people have been killed. And another 58 were injured. We have sent the injured to different hospitals in the region,” local police chief Anisur Rahman told AFP.

Cranes and other lifting gear were brought in to rescue trapped passengers, many of whom were asleep when the early morning crash took place.

“There was a loud noise, then I saw the train was completely ripped apart,” one injured passenger told Somoy TV.

“All the people around me were crying. There was blood everywhere. Some people had broken hands and legs,” another told the broadcaster.

“My son was with me. I still don’t know what happened to him,” the man added.

Hayat ud Doula Khan, a government official in the district, said the Dhaka-bound Turna Nishitha train, hit the Chittagong-bound Udayan Express at about 3:00 am (2100 GMT Monday) as the Udayan was about to go through Mondobhog station.

Khan told AFP that the Turna Nishitha should have waited outside the station to let the other train pass and that an investigation had been started. A Bangladesh railway official told reporters faulty signals could be to blame.

“Three coaches were badly mangled and the victims are from these coaches,” Khan said, adding that train services out of Dhaka had been halted because of the accident.

Train accidents are common in Bangladesh and are often caused by poor signalling or other rundown infrastructure.

According to the Shipping and Communication Reporters Forum (SCRF), a private media research group, between January 1 and June 30 this year, at least 202 rail accidents took place in the South Asian country of 168 million people where some of the track is a century old.

In June, a train plunged into a canal after the bridge it was crossing gave way. Five people were killed and 100 injured.

The SCRF said pedestrians using mobile phones while crossing tracks, negligence by railway employees and poor maintenance of lines and bridges were the main cause of crashes.

No Life Lost In Lagos Train Accident, Says NRC

No Life Lost In Lagos Train Accident, Says NRC
NRC Managing Director, Mr Freeborn Okhiria

 

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) has faulted the claims that a life was lost in the train derailment that occurred at the Mangoro/ Agege area of Lagos State.

Managing Director of NRC, Mr Freeborn Okhiria, confirmed to Channels Television in an interview that nobody died in the incident.

“There are over 100 people in that single coach; if it was a road vehicle, you know what could have happened,” he said.

“As I speak, we just have only one person that was injured which we have taken care of him.”

The train was said to be coming from Ijoko area of Ogun State and heading to Ebute Metta in Lagos before the incident happened in the morning.

The accident occurred when one of the train coaches reportedly fell off the rail track while in motion, causing another coach to derail.

 

According to witnesses, there was tension among passengers on the train who struggled to escape through the windows of the affected coaches.

Mr Okhiria insisted that no life was lost and the only person injured has since been treated.

He added that a lot of things used to be involved in a train accident and the Accident Investigation Team of the NRC has launched a probe into today’s incident to unravel its cause.

Explaining how the accident happened, the NRC boss said, “We have about four trains every morning and the first one was coming, made up of 11 coaches.

“Eight passed and on getting to the ninth one, it derailed and one fell down and dragged the other two. Before a train leaves a station, there is a train examiner who must check to ensure that it is fit to go and once a trip is finished, it is re-checked. It was checked this morning.”

PHOTOS: Train, Commercial Bus Collide In Lagos

Photo of Agege accident. Source: LASEMA

 

A train and a commercial bus on Friday collided in the Agege area of Lagos State.

The Rapid Respond Squad confirmed the incident via its Twitter handle, as officials from the agency as well as the Lagos State Emergency Management Agency (LASEMA) were immediately deployed to the scene.

While details remain sketchy, the RRS says one person may have been killed in the incident.

Three Killed In London Train Accident

British Transport Police officers carry evidence bags as they leave from Brixton train station in south London on June 18, 2018, following an incident on the railway lines at Loughborough Junction earlier today. Niklas HALLE’N / AFP

 

Three people died in south London after being hit by a train, police said Monday, amid reports they may have been graffiti artists.

Police said they were treating the deaths as unexplained, but media said spray paint cans were found near the bodies.

The London Evening Standard newspaper reported that the victims were men in their 20s.

“My team are now working hard to understand what happened and how these three people came to lose their life on the railway,” said detective Gary Richardson.

“At this time, we are treating their deaths as unexplained as we make a number of immediate inquiries.”

He urged anyone with information to come forward.

Police were trying to ascertain when the incident occurred, with the possibility they were struck by a freight train overnight.

Officers were seen taking photographs of graffiti near the site, according to the Evening Standard.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “My heart goes out to the families of the three people killed.”

The bodies were spotted by tracks close to Brixton overground station during morning rush hour.

AFP

Freight Train Derails Near Chicago

A freight train transporting crude oil derailed in the Chicago suburbs on Friday.

Officials say oil was leaking from many of the freight cars and first responders were on the scene to identify the leaks and keep the spill from spreading.

The Canadian National train was travelling on a freight line that does not carry passenger trains.

Police have asked people to stay away from the area as officials work to secure the scene.

Investigators will be working to determine the cause of the derailment.

How A Train Ran Away And Devastated A Canadian Town

The short length of track, nestled in a dark pine and birch forest in Quebec, is a regular overnight stop for freight trains hauling crude oil and other raw materials across North America.

Normally, before retiring for the night, the train operator sets the hand brakes and leaves one locomotive running to power the air brakes that help hold the train in place on the gently sloping track. The next morning, the operator or a relief engineer starts up the train and continues on their way.

Last weekend, the system failed. The locomotive caught fire, so firefighters shut off the engine to stop the flames from spreading. That slowly disengaged the air brakes, and the driverless train carrying 72 cars of crude oil rolled downhill into the scenic lakeside town of Lac-Megantic, derailing, exploding and leveling the town center.

At least 13 people were killed and some 37 are still missing, according to Canadian police. Few residents expect any of the missing to be found alive.

The catastrophe could force policymakers across North America to rethink the practice of shipping crude by rail – a century-old business that has boomed with the surge in shale oil production.

Based on Reuters interviews with witnesses, fire services and the head of the train company, the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic Railway (MMA), a tale emerges of how the brakes on a train parked on a slope were released leading to tragedy.

The accounts also frame the critical questions that investigators will be asking over the next few days and weeks. In particular, whether there was clear communication between the firefighters and the train operator, and whether anyone in authority saw the train start to roll down the hill before it picked up momentum and crashed into the town.

According to MMA Chairman Ed Burkhardt, the train operator was an experienced Canadian engineer who had parked the train in the small town of Nantes at a siding, a short length of track where trains make overnight stops. The siding is about 7 miles from Lac-Megantic.

He secured the train at 11:25 p.m. on Friday, setting the air brakes and hand brakes, according to MMA. Burkhardt said the engineer set the brakes on all five locomotives at the front of the train, as well as brakes on a number of cars, in line with company policy. Four of the train’s engines were switched off, but the front locomotive was left on to power the airbrakes. The engineer, who Burkhardt declined to name, then retired to a hotel in Lac-Megantic.

Soon after, things started to go wrong. Nantes Fire Chief Patrick Lambert said the fire department got a call about a blaze on one of the locomotives at 11:30 p.m. He said the fire was likely caused by a broken fuel or oil line.

Firefighters reached the scene within seven minutes.

“It was a good sized fire, but it was contained in the motor of the train,” Lambert told Reuters. “By 12:12, the fire was completely out.”

But as they extinguished the fire, the 12 volunteer firemen also switched off the locomotive, in line with their own protocols, to prevent fuel from circulating into the flames.

One of the many unknowns in the story is precisely what happened next.

Lambert said the fire department contacted the railway’s regional office in Farnham, Quebec, and spoke to the dispatcher. “We told them what we did and how we did it,” Lambert said. “There was no discussion of the brakes at that time. We were there for the train fire. As for the inspection of the train after the fact, that was up to them.”

It was not known what the dispatcher did after receiving the call. Burkhardt said he was not sure if the dispatcher was told that the engine had been shut down, or what the dispatcher did after receiving the call. The company is still investigating the incident, as are Canadian authorities.

“This is all within the scope of our investigation,” said Benoit Richard, a spokesman for the Quebec provincial police.

Burkhardt said the fire department should have tried to contact a local engineer who would have known how to secure the train. The hand brakes alone were not enough to keep the train in place after the pressure leaked out of the air brakes, he said.

“If they had actually talked to an engineer he would’ve known immediately what to do about that. I don’t know what they actually said to the dispatcher,” Burkhardt said in an interview in his office, decked out with model trains, rail posters and other railroad memorabilia, in a seven-storey building near Chicago O’Hare International Airport.

DOWNHILL

Shortly after the firefighters left the Nantes siding, an eyewitness reports seeing the train – some four-fifths of a mile long – start rolling down the gentle hill.

“About five minutes after the firemen left, I felt the vibration of a train moving down the track. I then saw the train move by without its lights on,” said Andre Gendron, 38, whose trailer and off-the-grid wooden cabin are the only buildings anywhere near the rail siding.

“I found it strange its lights weren’t on and thought it was an electrical problem on board. It wasn’t long after that I heard the explosion. I could see the light from the fires in Lac-Megantic.”

Burkhardt said the train picked up speed quickly and was likely going “far, far faster” than the speed limit of 10 miles per hour (16 km per hour) as it reached a curve in the track in the very center of Lac-Megantic at around 1:15 a.m. on Saturday and jumped the tracks.

He said the locomotives separated from the buffer car – a heavy railcar loaded with stones or rocks or sand – and the tanker cars, which were laden with a free-flowing type of Bakken oil from North Dakota.

Lac-Megantic residents reported hearing a series of five or six explosions. The crude caught on fire, spread through the storm drains and spilled into the deep blue lake that the town was named after.

“This was a huge derailment. If you have a pile-up of cars like this, you are going to have a multitude of sparks,” Burkhardt said. “The whole train was compressed into a few hundred feet in some spots. And cars piled three high in certain places.”

“It’s awful, it’s absolutely awful,” said Burkhardt, a slender, gray-haired rail industry veteran who is also president of Rail World Inc, a privately held rail management and investment firm that is the parent company of MMA.

Pictures taken from the air on Monday show blackened tanker cars concertinaed on top of the space where the popular Musi-Cafe used to be, a night-time hangout that was packed when the train roared into town.

Eyewitness Bernard Theberge, 44, said about 50 people were inside the bar as the train approached, and he was outside on the terrace.

“There was a big explosion, the heat reached the cafe and then a big wall of fire enveloped the road…. It all happened so fast, in the space of a minute,” he said.

“There were people inside. I thought for maybe two seconds that I should go in, but the heat was too strong to get to the door,” said Theberge, who escaped with second-degree burns.

At least 19 dead in South Africa train accident – media

At least 19 people were killed and 20 injured after a train collided with a truck in northeast South Africa, local radio said on Friday.

Police confirmed the accident in Mpumalanga province, about 400 km east of Johannesburg, but were unable to give details on the number of deaths.

“The truck carrying farm workers was hit by a train at a level crossing,” Mpumalanga police spokesman Joseph Mabusa told Reuters.

Mpumalanga is a major coal-producing region. It was not immediately clear whether the accident could disrupt coal shipments in Africa’s biggest economy.