Two British tourists have been killed and a number were injured when a train derailed in northern India.
The specially chartered four-carriage ‘toy train’ was carrying 36 Britons and their tour manager on the world famous 60-mile mountain railway line from Kalka to Shimla – a major tourist attraction and Unesco World Heritage site.
The derailment involving three carriages is reported to have occurred around 1pm local time on Saturday close to Taksal station, just over a mile from Kalka.
The two British tourists who died are reportedly both women in their 60s. Nine others were injured including six Britons.
The cause of the derailment is not immediately clear but the Press Trust of India news agency said the train may have derailed because it was travelling too fast. The train was rounding a sharp left bend when the accident occurred.
The victims were first treated in Kalka before they were transported to the Max Hospital in Chandigarh. Their injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.
The tourists were on the third day of a 13-day holiday trip organised by their York-based tour operator Great Rail Journeys, which takes around 2,500 people to India each year.
The holiday company have confirmed that one of its groups had been involved in the accident. Chief executive Peter Liney said, "Tragically, we can confirm that two passengers died in the accident…Our absolute priority is to support and help the families of those people who have so tragically died.”
One passenger on board the train at the time of the rail accident said, “It went around a really sharp left bend, going too fast. I got thrown across the carriage... when the derailment happened. There was no panic, but stunned silence until we realised how bad things were.
"We were stuck in a wooded area for many hours. A lady had fallen out of the door to the grass embankment. Our tour guide was in a bad way…I am still in shock but happy to be alive."
This is clearly horrific news for everyone concerned and it is absolutely crucial that a comprehensive investigation is carried out at the earliest possible opportunity to ascertain exactly why this derailment was allowed to happen.
The 96km narrow-gauge Kalka-Shimla Railway which climbs more than 4,000 feet through the Himalayan foothills is famous for its panoramic views. It was opened in 1903 to connect Shimla, the then summer capital of British India, with the northern plains.
Paul McClorry is Senior Personal Injury Lawyer who specialises in Travel Law Claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK.
Slater and Gordon Lawyers UK are experts in securing compensation in holiday accident claims regardless of whether you were travelling for work or pleasure, in a car, on-board an aircraft, a cruise ship, or a train.
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