At least 12 people were killed and 20 injured when the Delhi-bound Goa Express rammed into the stationary Mewar Express near Mathura early on Wednesday. The Goa Express hit the Mewar Express from behind at approximately 4.45 am, according to Rajesh Vajpayee, chief public relations officer, North-Central Railway.
An unreserved compartment of the Mewar Express was damaged. Railway authorities were using gas cutters to extricate trapped passengers from the damaged bogey.
Divisional Railway Manager (Agra) R D Tripathi, who was at the spot, said prima facie the train driver of the Goa Express was at fault. Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee has ordered an inquiry into the mishap.
The toll is likely to rise as some passengers, including children, are trapped in the damaged bogey. "Some passengers are trapped and are being rescued," said Sri Prakash, an employee of the Railway Board.
Asked how many people were trapped inside, he said, "We really don't know. Senior officers are supervising the operations and we have also taken the help of civil authorities and army personnel".
Giving an account of the mishap, a passenger of the Mewar Express said, "There was a loud bang. We were suddenly thrown out of our seats. People and luggage from the upper berths fell on us and there was panic all around".
"Fifteen injured passengers have been taken out from the general coach of the Mewar Express after cutting the bogey," District Magistrate Dinesh Chandra Shukla said.
Banerjee has announced an ex-gratia of Rs five lakh to the next of the kin of the deceased. The seriously injured passengers will receive Rs one lakh and those with minor injuries will get Rs 10,000.
Uttar Pradesh Agriculture Minister Laxminarain Choudhry also announced a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the deceased besides a job.
Railways have set up helpline numbers at Mathura and Agra for the convenience of the public -- 0565-2402008 and 0562-24211041. In the wake of the accident, the Northern Railway has cancelled the Agra Nizamuddin Inter-city Express and diverted a few other trains including the Delhi-bound Rajdhani Express, the Andhra Pradesh Express and the Karnataka Express. They are being diverted via Tundla.
However, train services between Delhi and Agra have been restored.