Train Derails, Bursts Into Flames In Arizona

Smoke fills the sky at the scene of a train derailment in Tempe, Arizona, on Wednesday, July 29, 2020.

 

A freight train derailed and caught fire on a bridge in Arizona on Wednesday, but there were no reports of injuries in what a witness described as a “scene from hell.”

The accident near Phoenix took place at around 6:15 a.m., prompting a massive fire visible for miles and sending some 100 firefighters, police and paramedics to the scene.

Tim McMahan, a spokesman for Union Pacific, told AFP that eight to 10 cars caught fire as the train, which was moving freight, crossed a bridge over Tempe Town Lake.

He said that the cars that burned for hours were carrying lumber.

“The south side of the bridge collapsed and rail cars fell into an empty park below,” McMahan said, adding that the bridge had undergone inspection earlier this month.

He said there were no injuries among the crew but one person was treated for smoke inhalation.

Smoke can be seen from a train derailment and fire along a bridge over Tempe Town Lake in Tempe, Arizona July 29, 2020. Laura Segall / AFP

 

McMahan said two of the three tank cars on the ground under the bridge contained cyclohexanone while the third contained a rubber material.

“None are reported leaking, and no tank cars were involved in the fire,” he said, adding that the cause of the derailment was under investigation.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, cyclohexanone is a colorless oily liquid with an odor resembling acetone and peppermint. The chemical is both flammable and an irritant and is mainly used for the production of nylon.

A local resident who was riding her bike under the bridge moments before the accident told local media she had the fright of her life.

“Now there’s fire pouring into the lake from the middle of the bridge. … It looks like a scene from hell, truly,” Camille Kimball said on CBS 5. “A scene from hell. … The flames are intense and the sky is filled with black smoke.”

Kaduna-Abuja Train Service Resumes Operation

 

The Kaduna-Abuja train service has resumed passenger operations, nearly four months after services were stopped due to the nationwide lockdown imposed as a precautionary measure to contain the spread of COVID-19.

The railway opened bookings for passenger services on Wednesday morning with four trains a day connecting Kaduna to Abuja.

Railway health officials at the Rigasa Train station told Channels Television that coaches and the premises have been decontaminated before the resumption of passenger service.

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Passengers were also mandated to wash their hands with soap at the entry point, their luggages were decontaminated, while their body temperatures were screened before being allowed to move to the ticket point.

In line with social distancing guidelines, the number of passengers per couch has also been cut down by half while the railway management has made the wearing of face mask and use of hand sanitizers compulsory.

13 Injured As Trains Collide In Cairo

My Convoy Was Never Attacked By Bandits In Kaduna, Says Amaechi

 

The Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, has debunked news making the rounds that his convoy was attacked by bandits at the Rigasa train station in Kaduna state on Sunday. 

In an exclusive interview with Channels Television, Mr Amaechi narrated the incidence and described the story as ‘totally false and misleading’.

According to him, there was never a time his convoy was attacked immediately he disembarked from the Abuja – Kaduna bound train.

He noted that the false story has further lent credence for the need by the Federal Government to pass the social media law in order to checkmate fake news.

“This so-called social media, the earlier they start regulating it, the better.

“I left the train, walked into the car alone, my security just joined me and then there was government house security, they conveyed me straight to the hotel; I slept for some few minutes, went to a party and left the party at 12 midnight.

“It was after I left the party I saw calls from my wife and it was frantic and I was wondering why my wife will call me for over 15 to 20 times, then I called back to say what is going on, that’s when she said thank God, that they said they attempted to kidnap me and that there was a shootout.

“We either start regulating this (social media), or there are people who deliberately want to bring down the government, and I don’t know what they want to achieve by that, is it that the government can’t protect its own minister?” he asked.

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Mr Amaechi stressed that it is not the duty of the Ministry of Transport to provide security for passengers and their responsibilities end from the point passengers leave the train station.

“I don’t know whether the policemen came for me or they were there to protect, but I will find out if they came to protect passengers.

“The job of the ministry of transport stops as you disembark the train. I’m not the IG of police or the Governor of Kaduna state, but our responsibility stops once you leave the station; up to the station, we had policemen.

“As at yesterday, there was nothing wrong; no shooting or kidnapping,” he restated.

Two Dead As Train Derails Near Milan

 

Two people were killed and about 30 injured on Thursday when a high-speed train derailed near Milan in northern Italy, Italian media said.

READ ALSO: Three Dead, Scores Hurt, In Turkey Plane Accident

The accident occurred near the town of Lodi, about 50 kilometres (30 miles) south of Milan. The two people killed were rail workers on the train, the media said.

AFP

Train Kills Two Elephants In India

Indian flag

 

Two elephants were hit and killed by a passenger train on Wednesday in eastern India, officials said, with the animals’ bodies decorated with flowers before being cremated at the spot.

In the past five years, at least 26 elephants have been killed and scores more injured by trains on this stretch of track near the Nepal border, according to wildlife officials.

The animals — one of which was pregnant — were hit at 4:30 am (2300 GMT) while crossing the railway line, said North Frontier Railway spokesman Subhanan Chanda.

“We think that the accident took place due to poor visibility in the area caused by the dense fog,” Chanda added.

Forestry workers and wildlife officials have repeatedly asked rail authorities to stop running trains at night because of such incidents.

Dozens of locals gathered around the bodies of the elephants, with some offering prayers. Logs were piled up around the carcasses and set alight.

“Railway authorities have ordered an inquiry to ascertain if the train was moving above its speed limit of 90 kilometres (55 miles) per hour,” Chanda said.

The railway gauge was widened a decade ago, allowing trains to travel faster, he added.

AFP

FG Announces Free Train Ride On Lagos-Ibadan Rail Line

A file photo of the Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi. Photo: Twitter- @ChibuikeAmaechi

 

 

The Federal Government has announced free train ride for travellers along the Lagos-Ibadan standard gauge rail line.

The Minister of Transportation, Mr Chibuike Amaechi, made the announcement on Saturday via his Twitter handle.

He explained that the take-off point is the Iju train station in Lagos while the free ride would last beyond the festive period.

Amaechi noted that it would run through March 2020.

He, therefore, urged commuters along the route to take advantage and “ride to the next level”.

Read the tweets below:

Pakistan Mourners Bury Victims Of Train Fire

 

Distraught relatives gathered Friday for the funerals of some of the 74 people killed when fire ripped through a crowded train in Pakistan, with many of the victims residents of a single town.

Sobbing family members crowded a government building in Mirpurkhas overnight as the first bodies covered in white cloth began arriving by ambulance from the scene of the disaster.

After morning prayers, with women watching from nearby rooftops, more than a hundred men attended the first funeral — of a car mechanic named Mohammad Saleem, who was in his late 40s.

It was held at the Bismillah Mosque, from which at least 42 pilgrims had left to board the train one day earlier, bound for a religious festival near Lahore.

According to officials, as some of the passengers cooked breakfast around dawn on Thursday two of their gas cylinders exploded, sending flames racing through three carriages as the train passed near Rahim Yar Khan, in Punjab province.

At least 74 people died, some after jumping through windows on the still-moving train to escape the blaze.

Rescue officials found bodies and some injured passengers along a two-kilometre stretch of track, Dawn newspaper reported.

The train was a daily express service that runs between the southern port city of Karachi and Rawalpindi, adjacent to Islamabad.

Trains on that route can reportedly hit speeds of up to 110 kilometres (68 miles) per hour. Local media said that the speed may have helped fan the flames.

Journalists were allowed inside the interior of the carriages early Friday. The fire appeared to have burned them entirely, with virtually no space visible that was not blackened and charred.

One of them — Wagon No.12 — was carrying mainly people from Mirpurkhas, the town’s deputy commissioner, Attaullah Shah, told AFP.

“There was never such a tragic incident to happen to Mirpurkhas,” he said.

Mirpurkhas commissioner Abdul Waheed Sheikh said ten of the bodies had been confirmed as being residents of the town so far.

Twenty-four Mirpurkhas residents were among the injured.

But at least another 45 are still missing, he said.

Officials in Rahim Yar Khan have said many of the bodies are charred beyond recognition and will have to be identified through DNA testing — a process that could take up to one month.

Shah said the government was arranging to send families of the missing from Mirpurkhas to the hospital in Rahim Yar Khan where the bodies have been taken.

 ‘Mistake’ 

Mirpurkhas, a town of some half a million people surrounded by farms and mango orchards, was largely shut down Friday as businesses closed in mourning.

“These were such people that we can not ever forget them,” Mohammad Anwar, the 57-year-old headmaster of a government school, told AFP at the Bismillah Mosque.

He said that among the missing was his nephew, as well as the mosque’s imam. Most of those who left from the mosque had known one another or lived nearby.

Mahmood Iqbal wept outside his home as he told AFP how his two sons were missing, one son-in-law was killed, and one brother-in-law was wounded.

When he looks at his grandsons, he said, he “can’t hold my tears”.

“I am praying to Allah, that they might come back from nowhere. I am waiting for a miracle,” he said.

Yawar Hussain came to the deputy commissioner’s office overnight in the hope of finding his brother Mohsin, 20.

Clutching a photograph of his brother posing in a starched beige shalwar kameez and sunglasses, the 23-year-old described rushing home after hearing of the accident.

“I consoled my father, and my mother and sisters were crying,” he said.

Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.

Gas cylinders are supposedly banned on trains. Pakistan’s railways minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed said Thursday it had been a “mistake” to allow the cylinders on board, and Prime Minister Imran Khan has ordered an inquiry.

But criticism, particularly of Ahmed, was growing as observers said there have been more than 70 railway accidents in the past year, including several major fatal ones.

Sabir Hussain Kaimkhani, a member of the National Assembly’s railways committee, told AFP the accident rate has increased “due to negligence”.

Kaimkhani said that alarm systems and emergency brakes in many trains are missing or broken, and that passenger carriages do not carry fire extinguishers.

Ahmed, who has refused to step down, denies the allegations and says the train in Thursday’s tragedy stopped when someone pulled an emergency brake.

AFP

At Least 74 Killed In Pakistan Train Fire

In this handout picture taken and release by Punjab Emergency Service Rescue 1122 on October 31, 2019, residents gather beside the burnt-out train carriages after a passenger train caught on fire near Rahim Yar Khan in Punjab province on October 31, 2019.  AFP

 

At least 74 people were killed and dozens injured after cooking gas cylinders exploded on a train packed with pilgrims in Pakistan on Thursday, some dying after leaping from carriages to escape the inferno, authorities said.

Television footage showed flames pouring out of three carriages as people could be heard crying during the incident, in a rural area of central Punjab province.

Some of the passengers — many of whom were pilgrims travelling to one of Pakistan’s biggest religious gatherings — had been cooking breakfast when two of their gas cylinders exploded, Ali Nawaz, a senior Pakistan Railways official, told AFP.

Many Pakistanis carry food on long train journeys, but gas cylinders are supposedly banned. Pakistan’s railways minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed later told reporters that it had been a “mistake” to allow the cylinders on board.

Dozens of people crowded along the tracks staring at the burning carriages, which had been disconnected from the rest of the train, television images showed.

Firefighters rushed to the scene near Rahim Yar Khan district. Rescue workers and soldiers could also be seen, as bodies were carried away covered in white sheets.

“A cylinder exploded and I don’t know how, fire erupted everywhere,” one survivor, Muhammad Imran, told AFP from a hospital in Rahim Yar Khan.

“I jumped out of the train to save my life. There was a whole line of people behind me, they pushed,” he said.

Muhammad Nadeem Zia, a medical superintendent at the hospital in Liaquatpur, the nearest town, told AFP some of the victims were killed by head injuries sustained as they leapt from the moving train. He said at least 44 people had been injured.

Those hurt were being rushed to hospitals in the nearby city of Bahawalpur and elsewhere in Rahim Yar Khan district. Officials said many of the bodies were charred beyond recognition.

Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “deeply saddened” by the tragedy and had ordered an urgent inquiry.

 Religious pilgrimage 

Khan said the train was the Tezgam, one of Pakistan’s oldest and most popular rail services, which runs between the southern port city of Karachi to the garrison city of Rawalpindi, neighbouring Islamabad.

It had been diverted to facilitate the religious pilgrims travelling to Lahore.

Passengers were travelling to attend the annual Tablighi Ijtema, one of Pakistan’s biggest religious gatherings, which each year sees up to 400,000 people descend on a tented village outside Lahore for several days to sleep, pray and eat together.

The majority of those killed were pilgrims from southern Sindh province, Nawaz said.

The Tablighi Ijtema, which begins Thursday and concludes on Sunday, was founded by religious scholars more than five decades ago and focuses exclusively on preaching Islam.

It usually sees hundreds of camps and sub-camps set up on the dusty site outside Lahore to accommodate people from across Pakistan, giving the gathering a festival feel.

Stalls sell cooked food, raw chicken and meat, vegetables and fruit, and even electrical appliances and batteries for mobile phones at a subsidised rate.

Railways minister Ahmed said it had been “tradition” for authorities to allow people travelling to the festival to board trains carrying cooking cylinders.

“I admit our mistake… this will not happen in the future,” he told journalists in televised comments from the nearby city of Multan.

“A tragedy that could have been avoided but ever since I can recall while travelling by train no baggage check or restrictions enforced,” human rights minister Shireen Mazari tweeted.

‘Could have been avoided’ 

Nawaz said two of the carriages were economy coaches, while one was business class, and that up to 88 passengers can fit into each.

Train accidents are common in Pakistan, where the railways have seen decades of decline due to corruption, mismanagement and lack of investment.

In July, at least 23 people were killed in the same district when a passenger train coming from the eastern city of Lahore rammed into a goods train that had stopped at a crossing.

Accidents often happen at unmanned crossings, which frequently lack barriers and sometimes signals.

AFP

50 Killed In Train Derailment In DR Congo

 

 

Fifty people were killed early Thursday when a train derailed in southeastern Democratic Republic of Congo, the minister for humanitarian action, Steve Mbikayi, said in a tweet.

“Another disaster! Derailing at 3am (0100 GMT) in Tanganyika (province) near Mayibaridi. Provisional toll: 50 dead and several injured,” he wrote.

Railways in the DRC have a poor record for safety, hampered by poor tracks and decrepit locomotives, many of them dating from the 1960s.

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In March, at least 24 people were killed and 31 were injured Sunday when a freight train carrying illegal passengers crashed in the central region of Kasai.

In November last year, 10 stowaways were killed and 24 injured near the eastern town of Samba when the brakes failed on a freight train.

In November 2017, 35 people were killed when a freight train carrying 13 oil tankers plunged into a ravine in southern Lualaba province.

One Dead, 30 Hurt As Train, Truck Collide Near Tokyo

 

One person was killed and around 30 people injured on Thursday, authorities said, when an express train and a truck collided on a busy line connecting Tokyo and Yokohama.

The accident derailed the front carriage of the train and badly damaged the truck, which burst into flames and spewed its cargo of hundreds of oranges and lemons alongside the tracks.

The train’s front window was completely smashed and the truck appeared to be pinned to a wall just beyond the crossing where the collision took place.

“Emergency crews took 30 injured people into care. Of those, two had sustained serious injuries. Of those severely injured, the hospital has confirmed the death of one person,” a fire department official told reporters at the scene.

According to the Keikyu train company operating the service, the driver said he had applied the emergency brake but too late to prevent the collision.

The company said it had launched an investigation into the accident that took place just before noon as the express train, carrying 500 people, hurtled through the crossing.

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“The maximum speed there is set at 120km (75 miles) per hour and we believe the train was travelling as fast as that,” a Keikyu spokesman, who declined to be named, told AFP.

“There is an abnormality detection system there for emergencies and cases such as a truck getting stuck on the crossing. This system kicked in and an alarm signal was flickering,” added this spokesman.

‘It was a panic’

Eyewitnesses spoke of a fierce fire and panic, with TV images showing terrified passengers streaming from the carriages after the collision.

One man who was travelling in the first carriage told national broadcaster NHK there was a “sudden sound” and that the impact left people in heaps.

“I saw flames. Then the fire became more and more intense. So everyone rushed to get outside. It was a panic,” this eyewitness said.

Another person who witnessed the scene said there were flames coming from the bottom of the truck and that the “smoke was awful.”

Japanese trains have a well-deserved reputation for safety and punctuality and accidents are rare.

Earlier this year, 14 people suffered light injuries when a driverless train in suburban Tokyo went the wrong way and smashed into the buffers.

In April 2005, a speeding commuter train near Osaka jumped the tracks on a tight bend during the morning rush hour and smashed into an apartment tower. The driver and 106 passengers were killed and more than 550 people were injured.

The crash was Japan’s worst rail disaster since 1963 when 161 people died in Yokohama after a freight train collided with a truck and was then hit by two passenger trains.

Japan’s deadliest-ever train accident was in February 1947 when a passenger train derailed near Tokyo, killing 184 people and injuring nearly 500.

PHOTOS: Drama At Abuja Train Station Over Alleged Ticket Racketeering

A file photo of passengers at the Idu train station in Abuja on August 9, 2019. Photos: Channels TV/ Sodiq Adelakun.

 

 

There was a rowdy scene at the Idu train station in Abuja over alleged ticket racketeering by railway officials.

Angry passengers overwhelmed security staff at the terminal and forcefully made their way into the station to board the train heading for Rigasa in Kaduna State.

Some of them who claimed they got to the station early enough to purchase tickets blamed the rowdy situation on officials of the station.

READ ALSO: Angry Passengers Overwhelm Security Officials At Abuja Train Station

A staff of the media team of Nigeria Railway Corporation, however, claimed to be very busy when contacted to respond to the allegation.

See photos below: