NEW DELHI (Reuters) - A passenger express train derailed after hitting a truck in northern India on Wednesday, injuring 42 people, some critically, in the country’s fifth major rail accident in the past year.
Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu said in a tweet that he took took “moral responsibility” for the spate of accidents. India has the world’s fourth biggest rail network, but it is grappling with chronic under-investment and over-crowding.
On Saturday, 23 people were killed and 123 injured in another derailment near the Hindu holy city of Haridwar that led to the suspension of three senior railways officials and three others being forced to take leave.
“I am extremely pained by the unfortunate accidents, injuries to passengers and loss of precious lives,” Prabhu said in his tweet.
The latest accident occurred in Uttar Pradesh state as the Kaifiyat Express from Azamgarh to the capital Delhi collided with a truck carrying construction material, causing 11 coaches to derail, Northern Railways spokesperson Neeraj Sharma said.
Last month, junior railways minister Rajen Gohain told parliament that 1,011 people had died in 586 rail accidents in last five years, nearly 53 percent due to derailments.
Reporting by Aby Jose Koilparambil in Bengaluru and Manoj Kumar in New Delhi; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore