A luxury train careered off the rails as it crossed a bridge in Gaya, eastern India, on Monday night. Local authorities suspect sabotage. The death toll is expected to rise sharply.
The Rajdhani Express is a luxury train which travels between New Delhi and Calcutta, costing 150 USD, well above the average Indian salary. The Indian railways pride themselves on their punctuality and rolling stock in excellent conditions. However, somewhere along the route, at Rafigani, in the State of Bihar, something went horribly wrong.
As the train approached a bridge at 130 km/hour, it derailed. Eight carriages turned over completely, two were left hanging from the bridge and one fell into the river below. The reasons for the crash are as yet unclear but Nitish Kumar, the Indian Railways Minister, after inspection of the scene, declared that “At first sight, it looks like sabotage”, adding that “Some rails were either taken away or disappeared completely”. The Secretary of State for the Railways, Banduru Dattatreya, is of the same opinion. He blames the Maoist Communist centre, whose stronghold is in Bihar State.