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Train Crash in India Kills 34, Injures 50

Thirty-four people, including 11 women and a child died and about 50 others injured Tuesday in ahead-on collision between two passenger trains in Hoshiarpur district of Punjab state in north India, the Press Trust of India reported.

The collision between the Jammu Tawi Ahmedabad Express and Jalandhar Pathankot Diesel Multiple Unit trains occurred near Mansar village between Mirthala and Bangar railway stations in the Jalandhar-Pathankot railway section.

While railway sources put the toll at 34, Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh said in the state assembly that 50 people have died in the mishap that occurred around noon.

"The collision took place after both the trains were given the green signals on the single line Jalandhar-Pathankot section of the Ferozepur division of the northern railway," PTI quoted local sources as saying.

While the local train Diesel Multiple Unit (DMU) was cleared from the Bangara railway station, the Ahmedabad bound express train was given the go ahead from Chak Kalan railway station.

Drivers of both the trains were among the dead, a spokesman of the northern railway said.

The injured persons have been admitted to a civil hospital at Mukerian and the Army Hospital, Pathankot.

Railway medical and relief teams have been rushed to the spot and rescue operation was on with the help of the army.

Three coaches of the DMU and one of the express train along with the two engines were badly damaged in the collision.

Railway commissioner (safety) has ordered an inquiry into the accident.

The accident raises questions about the safety of rail travel in India, a country with one of the largest railway networks in the world.

India runs almost 14,000 trains daily and its railway network carries almost 13 million passengers a day.

(Xinhua News Agency December 15, 2004)

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