In a devastating incident that unfolded on the evening of October 29, 2023, a rail accident between two passenger trains in Andhra Pradesh’s Vizianagaram district left 13 people dead and 40 injured. The collision occurred on the Howrah-Chennai railway line after a passenger train overshot a signal and collided with another train from behind.
The accident took place between a special passenger train traveling between Visakhapatnam and Palasa, which had stopped on the tracks between Alamanda and Kantakapalle due to a signal issue. Tragically, a Vizag-Raigad passenger train struck it from behind, resulting in the derailment of three coaches.
Railway sources attributed the tragedy to human error, emphasizing that the signal was not noticed by the loco pilot. Pictures from the site depicted derailed coaches and concerned onlookers. With the exception of the derailed and affected coaches, the site was cleared by midnight, according to Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw.
All 40 injured individuals were from Andhra Pradesh, and four of them were in critical condition, according to the Vizianagaram District administration. The Railway Minister announced financial assistance for the victims’ families, with ₹10 lakh for the deceased, ₹2.5 lakh for the seriously injured, and ₹50,000 for those with minor injuries.
PM Modi, deeply moved by the loss of lives, reviewed the situation and extended his condolences. He pledged an additional ₹2 lakh for the families of the deceased and ₹50,000 for the injured.
The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, YSR Jagan Mohan Reddy, expressed profound shock over the accident and ordered all necessary arrangements for the treatment of the injured.
Divisional Railway Manager Saurabh Prasad, who visited the accident site, stated that the final death toll could be determined once the entangled coaches were separated. This tragic incident evoked memories of a horrifying accident in Odisha just five months ago, which claimed over 280 lives when three trains collided.
Despite efforts to modernize and automate rail operations in India, such mishaps continue to raise concerns among authorities and the public. Just two weeks prior, a collision occurred, resulting in four fatalities and over 70 injuries due to emergency brakes applied by an engine driver sensing track issues. In a previous probe, the Commissioner of Railway Safety identified human errors as a significant factor in the Odisha train tragedy involving three trains.
The incident in Andhra Pradesh serves as a grim reminder of the challenges that persist within India’s extensive railway network and highlights the ongoing need for safety improvements and enhanced training to prevent such tragedies in the future.