Timeline: The world’s deadliest train crashes

Train derailments are rare, yet collisions and other accidents still occur despite efforts to improve safety.

India train crash scene
India’s deadly train crash on Friday was the latest in a string of accidents to involve the country’s railways. [Jayanta Shaw/AFPTV/AFP]

India’s deadly train crash on Friday was the latest in a string of accidents to involve the country’s railways, which carries more than 12 million people daily.

At least 288 people have died in India’s worst rail accident in over two decades, officials said on Saturday, after a passenger train went off the tracks and hit another one in the east of the country.

Despite government efforts to improve rail safety, several hundred accidents happen annually on India’s railways. Most are blamed on human error or outdated signalling equipment.

Here’s a look at other train crashes in India in recent decades, as well as some of the world’s worst rail disasters of the last 10 years.


October 2018 – A train ran into a crowd watching fireworks during a religious festival in northern India, killing at least 60 people and injuring dozens more, on the outskirts of Amritsar, a city in Punjab state.

November 2016 – At least 146 people were killed when a passenger train travelling between the cities of Indore and Patna slid off the tracks. More than 200 people were injured.

July 2011 – A passenger train jumped tracks near Fatehpur in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India, killing 68 people and leaving 239 passengers injured.

May 2010 – A passenger train derailed and was hit by a cargo train, killing 145 people in West Bengal state. Authorities blamed sabotage by Maoist rebels for the crash.

October 2005 – A passenger train plunged into a rain-swollen river in southern India, killing at least 111 people. About 100 injured passengers were rescued from coaches that derailed after floods washed away tracks in the town of Veligonda in Andhra Pradesh state.

September 2002 – An express train travelling from Kolkata to New Delhi jumped its tracks and plunged into a river, killing at least 121 people. The accident happened south of the Bihar state capital of Patna.

August 1999 – Two trains collided head-on in the city of Guwahati in Assam state, killing more than 285 people.

November 1998 – Two trains collided in the northern town of Khanna, killing 210 people. The crash happened when a passenger train hit cars that had uncoupled from another train.

August 1995 – Two trains collided near New Delhi, killing 358 people. One of the trains had stopped after hitting a cow.

Rescuers work at the site of passenger trains that derailed in Balasore district
Rescuers work at the site of passenger trains that derailed in Balasore district. [Rafiq Maqbool/AP Photo]


February 2023 – A head-on collision between a freight train and a passenger train on the route between Greece’s capital, Athens, and Thessaloniki killed 57 people, in the country’s worst rail accident.

March 2022 – A freight train loaded with stowaways derailed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Lualaba province, killing at least 75 people and injuring 125 others. A month later, at least eight people died when a goods train derailed in the same area.

June 2021 – At least 63 people died when a train hurtling through farmland derailed and collided with another passenger service in Pakistan’s southern Sindh province.

April 2021 – At least 49 people were killed and 200 injured in Taiwan when a passenger train collided with a truck that slid down an embankment near the city of Hualien. This was the island’s worst rail disaster in decades.

October 2019 – At least 74 people died and more than 40 were injured when fire broke out on an overcrowded passenger train carrying pilgrims to a religious gathering near the Pakistani city of Lahore.

October 2016 – A train travelling from Cameroon’s capital Yaounde to the economic hub of Douala derailed, killing at least 79 people and injuring about 550 others. It was travelling “abnormally” fast before the crash, the investigation into the crash concluded.

April 2014 – A goods train carrying hundreds of illegal passengers flew off the rails in a swampy and inaccessible part of the south of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, killing at least 136 people. Many had to be buried in mass graves nearby.

July 2013 – About 80 people were killed and about 140 injured in Spain when a high-speed train slammed into a concrete wall near the northwestern city of Santiago de Compostela on July 24, 2013. The train had been approaching a curve at more than twice the speed limit.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies