At least four people were killed and more than 70 injured when a train derailed in India’s eastern state of Bihar on Wednesday night.
The incident happened at around 9.35pm, when eight carriages of the North East Express went off the tracks near Raghunathpur station in Buxar district.
The train was travelling from Delhi’s Anand Vihar Terminal to Kamakhya, near Guwahati, in the north-eastern state of Assam.
“We have recovered four bodies, so far,” police officer Vivek Kumar told The National.
The district administration said that rescue work was completed overnight and the injured were taken to hospital.
Repair work on the tracks is under way, said officials.
“About 71 passengers were injured in the accident. Eight have been sent to the premier AIIMS hospital. The rest are stable,” Anshul Aggarwal, the district magistrate, told The National.
Television channels showed locals and emergency workers working in darkness to rescue people.
Pillars, electricity poles and signals posts around both tracks were damaged.
“The train was coming at a normal speed, but suddenly we heard a loud sound and a plume of smoke rose out of the train,” Hari Pathak, a local resident, told reporters.
“We rushed to see what happened. We saw that the train had derailed, and the AC coaches were the most damaged,”
The derailment affected services in both directions, leading to diversion of several passenger and goods trains.
Federal Railway Minister Ashwini Kumar Choubey said an investigation had been launched to find the “root cause of the derailment” and that efforts were under way to repair the tracks and restore services on the line – one of the busiest in the country.
The incident comes barely four months after one of the country's worst rail accidents when 288 people were killed and hundreds more injured after two express passenger trains and a freight train collided in the eastern state of Odisha.
India has the world's second-largest railway network. Indian Railways transports more than 12 million people every day for daily commutes and longer journeys.
It has had a patchy safety record because of ageing infrastructure but in recent years, safety standards have improved, and the number of accidents has fallen.
The government says it plans to invest nearly $130 billion to modernise the network.