12 dead as trains collide in northern India

12 dead as trains collide in northern India
File photo of a train collision on the outskirts of Mathura, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of Agra on October 21, 2009. Deadly accidents are common on India's railways, whose vast and rundown network carries tens of millions of people daily.

NEW DELHI - Two passenger trains collided in northern India, killing at least 12 people and injuring 45 others, a railway spokesman said on Wednesday.

The Lucknow-Barauni Express derailed late Tuesday when it hit sideways another express train in Uttar Pradesh state.

"According to the information that we have till now, 12 people have unfortunately lost their lives in the accident and 45 others are injured," spokesman Anil Kumar Saxena told AFP.

Rescue workers were using iron cutters and other equipment to extricate bodies trapped in the wreckage.

"We expect the rescue work to be wrapped up soon so that trains can resume on that line," Saxena said.

Madhuresh Kumar, the general manager for east-central railways, said human error looked the probable cause.

"Prima facie it appears the driver for some reason may have overshot the signal. It looks like the most likely cause," he told reporters near the crash site at Gorakhpur, some 240 kilometres (150 miles) from the state capital Lucknow.

Deadly accidents are common on India's railways, whose vast and rundown network carries tens of millions of people daily.

In July, 20 people were killed, most of them children, when a passenger train rammed into a school bus in southern India.

A government report in 2012 said almost 15,000 people were killed every year on the network, describing the deaths as an annual "massacre" due mainly to poor safety standards.

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