Hazara Express bogies derail near Nawabshah, claim 15 lives, injure 50

People busy in rescue efforts after a trail derailed at Sarhari Railway Station near Nawabshah, on August 6, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — Geo News

NAWABSHAH: At least 15 people have been killed and 50 injured after 10 bogies of the Hazara Express train Sunday derailed between Shahzadpur and Nawabshah, at least 275 kilometres away from Karachi, officials said.

The train, which has 17 bogies and carries 950 passengers in its economy class and 72 in its air-conditioned standard coach, was en route to Havelian from Karachi.

The operation of domestic trains from Karachi has been suspended following the tragic incident. Meanwhile, the Green Line train journeying towards Karachi has been stopped at the Nawabshah railway station and the Rehman Baba Express has also been stopped at the Tando Adam railway station.

The affected were shifted to the People’s Medical Hospital in Nawabshah, with more injuries feared, as officials say that the reason behind the derailment is not yet known.

According to the Sanghar Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP), dozens of passengers are trapped under the derailed train, while the dead bodies and injured will be recovered after cutting the bogies.

The train accident took place in district Sanghar, Sanghar SSP confirmed, adding that 10 Station House Officers, four District Superintendents of Police and more than 100 police personnel are engaged in rescue work.

A large number of police personnel from the Police Training Center are also present for relief work.

The rangers’ sources have told Geo News that rangers personnel have also been dispatched for rescue work on the instructions of Director General Rangers Sindh, Major General Azhar Waqas.

“Trained personnel have been sent to the accident site for immediate rescue,” the sources said, adding that the personnel will immediately transfer the injured to the hospital.

Ambulances have also reached the site where medical aid and food is being provided to the rescued passengers.

Railway authorities said that it will take up to 18 hours to restore operations, while the recovery of the tracks will also take time, as it requires removing the bogies.

Railways Divisional Superintendent Mahmoodur Rahman said details are still being obtained.

Police said rescue efforts to recover passengers from the affected bogies are being carried out at the moment. Emergency, as per local administration, has been imposed in nearby hospitals following the accident.

“According to the initial information, 7 to 8 bogies have derailed and overturned,” the DS confirmed.

Rahman added that a train to carry out relief activities is arriving at the site of the incident from the Loco Shed Rohri and Kotri, while two have also been sent from Hyderabad and Sukkur.

“Due to the accident, the traffic on the up track is suspended,” he told Geo News.

‘Authorities alerted’

Federal Minister for Railways and Aviation Khawaja Saad Rafique, during a press conference, said he was gathering information about the unfortunate incident.

“Authorities have been alerted […] the railway secretary is present in Nawabshah,” the federal minister added.

The same locomotive — heading to Hevelian from Karachi — had escaped a grave accident in March this year after railway officials put a rusted train on tracks. Fortunately, no one was hurt.

Train accidents are not uncommon in Pakistan, as several incidents have taken the lives of hundreds of people and injured scores of others, but the authorities fail to take measures that prevent such happenings.

The latest accident came just a day after three coaches of Allama Iqbal Express — travelling from Karachi to Sialkot — derailed, but no one suffered injuries.

Pakistan has a shoddy record when it comes to accidents involving trains. In the past decade, the country has witnessed a number of deadly train accidents, and they seem to have increased in frequency over the past few years.