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Train crash kills at least eight people in eastern India

Onlookers watch as rescuers work after a cargo train rammed into Kanchanjunga Express, a passenger train, near New Jalpaiguri station, West Bengal state, India (Diptendu Dutta/AP)
Onlookers watch as rescuers work after a cargo train rammed into Kanchanjunga Express, a passenger train, near New Jalpaiguri station, West Bengal state, India (Diptendu Dutta/AP)

A cargo train has crashed into a passenger train in India’s eastern state of West Bengal, killing at least eight people and injuring several others.

The state’s chief minister Mamata Banerjee said in a post on social media platform X, formerly Twitter, that a cargo train had collided with the Kanchanjunga Express in the state’s Darjeeling district on Monday.

She said doctors, disaster-response teams and ambulances were engaged in rescue work at the site.

Onlookers watch as rescuers work after a cargo train rammed into Kanchanjunga Express, a passenger train, near New Jalpaiguri station, West Bengal state, India
Onlookers watch as rescuers work after a cargo train rammed into Kanchanjunga Express, a passenger train, near New Jalpaiguri station, West Bengal state, India (Diptendu Dutta/AP)

“Action on war-footing initiated,” she said.

Sabyasachi De, the spokesperson of the Northeast Frontier Railway, said three of the eight dead were railway personnel.

At least 25 people were injured in the collision, which occurred close to the New Jalpaiguri station.

Television channels showed visuals of one train rammed into the end of the other, with one compartment rising vertically in the air.

Swarms of people had gathered at the spot, where rescuers were searching the crash site.

What led to the collision was not immediately clear.

The Kanchanjunga Express is a daily train that connects West Bengal state with other cities in the northeast.

Onlookers watch as rescuers work after a cargo train rammed into Kanchanjunga Express, a passenger train, near New Jalpaiguri station, West Bengal state, India
Onlookers watch as rescuers work after a cargo train rammed into Kanchanjunga Express, a passenger train, near New Jalpaiguri station, West Bengal state, India (Diptendu Dutta/AP)

It is often used by tourists who travel to the hill station of Darjeeling, popular at this time of year when several Indian cities are sweltering in the heat.

More than 12 million people ride 14,000 trains across India daily, traveling on 40,000 miles of track.

Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, several hundred accidents happen annually on India’s railways. Most are blamed on human error or outdated signalling equipment.

Last year, a train crash in eastern India killed over 280 people in one of the country’s deadliest rail crashes in decades.