Nashik (Maharashtra): At least three passengers were killed and 30 injured when 10 bogies of the Nizamuddin-Ernakulam Mangala Lakshadweep Express jumped off the tracks near Nashik early Friday, officials said.
The accident took place around 6.30 a.m. between Ghoti and Igatpuri stations in Nashik district in the treacherous hilly and winding section running through the Western Ghats, around 200 km north of Mumbai.
A Central Railway official said three people were killed in the incident while 30 were injured, including some with minor injuries.
The coaches which derailed are: S-8, S-9, S-10, S-11, B-1, B-2, B-3, A-1, GS-1 and SLR. These were strewn on the adjacent tracks, completely disrupting train traffic on the crucial Mumbai-Kolkata trunk route.
Shortly after the accident, the Central Railway mounted a massive relief and rescue operation for the victims, informing their near and dear ones.
While the injured were rushed to hospitals in Igatpuri, Ghoti and Nashik, 10 buses were arranged to carry around 450 passengers stranded at the derailment site to Igatpuri station.
Around 12.30 p.m., a special train with 22 coaches was arranged from Igatpuri to take the passengers on their onward journey to Ernakulam, Kerala, an official said.
Hours after the accident, confusion wrapped the number of casualties. While the Central Railway said three were killed, local rescue officials in the district pegged the death figure at four, while witnesses claimed eight people were dead.
The derailment led to cancellation of pairs of Mumbai-Manmad Rajyarani Express, Mumbai-Manmad Panchavati Express, Mumbai-Bhusawal Passenger and the Nanded-Mumbai Tapovan Express.
A total of seven trains were cancelled. The Mumbai-Nanded Tapovan Express was terminated mid-journey at Kalyan in Thane district.
Another 11 long-distance incoming and outbound trains from various locations like Howrah, Varanasi, Lucknow, Guwahati, Ranchi, Nagpur, Rajendranagar and Bhubaneshwar were diverted through alternate routes.
Central Railway officials said they are hopeful of restoring the affected section by Friday evening.