KARACHI, Sept 17: At least two persons were killed and nine others injured when a Shalimar Express train rammed into two joined trains near the Ghaghar Phatak on the outskirts of the city on Monday morning.
Millat and Karachi expresses were clubbed together owing to a shortage of engines.
A guard’s van and two bogies of the stationary train jumped the tracks under the impact, and the engine that hit the other train was also damaged.
The main railway line, which was closed at around 3.25am owing to the derailment, was opened at 2.40pm, said a railway policeman, Mohammad Riaz.
The stationary train’s guard Asghar Ali and an unidentified passenger were killed and Waqar Siddiq, Mujahid Iqbal, Khurrum Jan, Razia Khatoon and Shoukat were among the injured.
Sources said the 18 down Millat Express coming from Faisalabad and the 16 down Karachi Express coming from Lahore were clubbed together owing to the shortage of engines and were being pulled by one engine (4706) driven by Mohammad Shafiq. The trains had started their journey on Saturday.
They said 377 passengers were booked on the Karachi Express and 446 on the Millat Express whereas 800 passengers were travelling in the Shalimar Express.
The sources said that owing to the non-operational signal system, the train had stopped a little short of the Ghaghar station — some 30 kilometres from the Karachi Cantonment station — and was waiting to get the paper line clear (PLC) — a manual system under which the train gets the clearance of line from the station till the next station.
The Shalimar Express train, being pulled by engine 6010 driven by Maqbool, overshot the red light and without waiting for a PLC continued to travel and hit the stationary train in the back.
The impact left the stationary train’s guard dead and at least nine passengers injured. One of them died in hospital in the afternoon. The driver and the fireman of the Shalimar Express, managed by a private firm, had slipped away after the accident.
Funeral prayers of guard Asghar Ali were held at a mosque near his home in Junejo Town off Korangi Road and he was buried in the Fauji graveyard near Chanesar Goth in the evening.
Railway trade union leader Manzoor Razi has demanded an inquiry into the accident and payment of Rs1 million compensation to the family of guard Asghar Ali.
Rescue and fire brigade crew of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation reached the site of the accident and took out the injured by cutting open the affected train compartments. The KMC also arranged seven buses to bring the injured to Karachi.