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Old July 13th, 2005, 09:27 PM   #1
hkskyline
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MISC | World's Worst Train Disasters

The world's worst train disasters since 1980

ISLAMABAD, July 13 (AFP) - Chronology of the world's worst train disasters of the past 25 years, following Wednesday's three-train crash in southern Pakistan which officials say killed about 150 people:

April 25, 2005: 107 people are killed and 540 injured when a speeding commuter train jumps the tracks at Amagasaki, western Japan, and smashes into an apartment building during morning rush hour.

Dec 26, 2004: A tsunami sweeps away a commuter train carrying up to 1,500 passengers in Telwatte, south of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo. At least 900 bodies are buried in a mass grave and a further 57 bodies found later.

April 22, 2004: A train blast in North Korea kills more than 150 people and leaves 1,300 injured in Ryongchon near the border with China.

Feb 18, 2004: More than 300 people are killed in Iran when train wagons carrying a cargo of chemicals derail and explode.

Sep 9, 2002: At least 119 people are killed in the northeastern Indian state of Bihar when part of the Rajdhani Express from Kolkata to New Delhi derails on a bridge over the Dhava river near Aurangabad.

June 24, 2002: Nearly 300 people die when a passenger train carrying more than 1,200 crashes into a freight train near the Tanzanian capital, Dodoma.

May 25, 2002: More than 190 people are killed when train a train derails in southern Mozambique, about 60 kilometres (40 miles) from the capital Maputo.

Feb 20, 2002: A passenger train catches fire between Cairo and Luxor in Egypt, killing more than 350 people.

Aug 2, 1999: More than 250 are killed in a head-on collision at Gaisal station, in the Indian state of West Bengal.

Nov 26, 1998: A speeding train rams into a derailed express in India's northern state of Punjab, leaving 210 people dead.

Feb 14, 1998: At least 220 people are killed in the explosion of two petrol wagons after a train derails in the suburbs of the Cameroon capital, Yaounde.

Aug 20, 1995: More than 300 people are killed after two express trains collide in the city of Firozabad near Agra, in India's Uttar Pradesh state.

Sept 22, 1994: A train derails in the southern Angolan province of Huila leaving 300 dead and 147 injured.

Jan 4, 1990: A collision near the Pakistani station of Sangi between a passenger train and goods train leaves more than 350 dead and 700 injured.

June 4, 1989: A gas explosion and a fire as two trains cross in Asha-Ufa station, 1,200 kilometres (745 miles) east of Moscow, leaves 645 dead, including 181 children.

July 2, 1987: 150 are killed when a train derails at a road crossing in Zaire, near the frontier with Zambia.

Jan 13, 1985: A train derails about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, claiming 392 lives.

June 6, 1981: Around 800 people are killed when a cyclone blows a train into river in Bihar, eastern India.
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Last edited by dimlys1994; March 5th, 2016 at 12:11 PM.
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Old July 13th, 2005, 09:29 PM   #2
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Creaking railways at root of frequent South Asian disasters

ISLAMABAD, July 13 (AFP) - Rail disasters are all too common in South Asia, where creaking and overstretched railways, some dating from the colonial era, buckle under the strain of transporting more than one billion people.

The collision of three passenger trains in southern Pakistan on Wednesday, which killed around 150 people, was the fifth crash in South Asia with a death toll of more than 100 in the past 25 years.

Hundreds more people die annually in smaller collisions, derailments or explosions, and critics say antiquated infrastructure, much in poor repair since British colonialists left decades ago, is partly to blame.

Pakistan's rail network, which carries 65 million passengers annually and operates 228 mail, express and passenger trains every day, dates back to 1861 -- and critics say equipment has not been kept up to date.

"A combination of mechanical and human factors is responsible for train accidents in Pakistan," Sardar Humayun Khan, a private transport expert, told AFP.

He said bureaucratic bottlenecks had kept recommendations on modernising the system, made after several wide-ranging studies, from being put into effect.

The Association of Road Users of Pakistan said: "Flagrant sub-standard maintenance is performed. Modern and functional locomotives are in short supply."

In neighbouring India, trains carry more than 13 million passengers daily on networks that sprawl more than 108,000 kilometers (66,000 miles) across the nation.

Around 300 rail accidents are recorded every year, some of them causing large numbers of deaths.

Analysts criticise the government for introducing new trains every year without investing in system upkeep. But despite ageing tracks, signals and rolling stock, raising railway fares is a political hot potato in India.

C.M. Khosla, a former member of the government's Railway Board, said while India's rail system is "inherently safe," not enough money has been spent on improving safety.

"We are also technologically backward, at least 20 to 30 years behind technology. Upgrading technology will help safety," he said.

Railways Minister Laloo Prasad Yadav has absolved himself of any responsibility, saying the fate of rail passengers rested with Vishwakarma, the Hindu god of machines.

In Bangladesh, 100 people were killed and 542 people were injured in rail accidents between July 2001 and June 2004, according to railway authorities. Five people died in a train-auto smash last month blamed on faulty signals.

Bangladesh Finance Minister M. Saifur Rahman said earlier this week that officials were planning a 500 million-dollar modernisation programme with funding from the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank.

"The railway track and signalling system of Bangaladesh Railway has become almost dilapidated and its service in terms of covering areas and standard has been reducing day by day," he was quoted saying.

Officials say that more than 90 percent of Bangladesh's 2,850-kilometres (1,750 miles) of track are between 60 and 130 years old.

Last year alone, the system carried 43.4 million passengers, with millions more clambering aboard without buying tickets, resulting in overcrowding.

But human factors and poor management can't always be blamed for disasters. The world's two worst ever rail tragedies have occurred in South Asia, but both were the result of natural disasters.

Last December more than 900 people perished when a tsunami swept away a commuter train carrying up to 1,500 passengers in Telwatte, south of the Sri Lankan capital Colombo.

In 1981 around 800 people were killed when a cyclone blew a train into river in Bihar, eastern India.
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Old July 17th, 2005, 02:34 AM   #3
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Anyone reading this thread would begine to wonder how safe railway really are...

of course rail accidents are still comparatively rare. Meanwhile, road accidents are so commonplace that they dont merit headline news - except in the most exceptional circumstances.

In Britain about 3500 people die on the roads each year - around 10 people per day. And Britain has some of the safest roads anywhere.

I suppose it could be said that whilst road users have a desire for safety but an expectation of possible danger railway users have an expectation of safety from the outset. Which is why so much fuss is made on those very rare occasions that something untoward happens.

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