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Five killed as Indian passenger and goods trains collide   

Photo courtesy : ANI

KOLKATA, (AFP) : At least five people were killed when an express passenger train and a goods train collided Monday in India’s West Bengal state, derailing three passenger carriages, police said.

Images on Indian broadcasters showed tangled wreckage of carriages flipped on their side, and one thrust high into the air precariously balanced on another.

“At least five people have died and 25-30 are injured,” senior police officer Abhishek Gupta told AFP from the site of the crash. 

“Three compartments of the express train were derailed.”

West Bengal’s Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called the crash “tragic” in a post on social media. 

“Doctors, ambulances and disaster teams have been rushed to the site for rescue, recovery, medical assistance,” Banerjee said. “Action on war footing initiated.” 

Banerjee said the crash took place in the Phansidewa area of Darjeeling district, when the Kanchenjunga Express train was hit by a goods train. 

Railways minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said the “injured are being shifted to the hospital”.

The incident is the latest to hit India’s creaking rail network, which carries millions of passengers each day. 

India has one of the world’s largest rail networks and has seen several disasters over the years, the worst in 1981 when a train derailed while crossing a bridge in Bihar state, killing an estimated 800 people.

In June last year, a three-train collision killed nearly 300 people in Odisha state.

In recent years India has been investing huge sums of money to upgrade the network with modern stations and electronic signalling systems.