2 UK women killed as Shimla toy train derails

2 UK women killed as Shimla toy train derails

Over-speeding led to accident, say passengers on board

2 UK women killed as Shimla toy train derails

Two British women died and over a dozen passengers were injured when the special toy train running on the Kalka-Shimla narrow-gauge track derailed on Saturday afternoon near Parwanoo in Himachal Pradesh, just a short while after leaving from Kalka in Haryana.

The deceased have been identified as Loraine Tiner and Joan Nickolas, both 60 years of age.
At least two other foreigners sustained serious injuries in the accident, in which two of the train's four compartments derailed.

Those seriously injured are being treated at a private hospital on the outskirts of Chandigarh.
The special chartered toy train on the 96-km track — listed as a Unesco heritage site in 2008 — was headed to Shimla with a group of at least 37 foreigners on board. The booking was done by a Delhi-based travel company.

The train on this narrow gauge normally runs at a speed of around 10 km per hour.  While the Railways have constituted an inquiry to ascertain the cause of the accident, some passengers on board said the derailment took place on a curve as the train was speeding. Debris on the track is also being attributed as a reason.

Shimla-based historian Raaja Bhasin was also on the train as the foreigners' guide when the tragedy occurred.

Bhasin said two foreigners lost their lives. He said he had taken a seat minutes before the accident.
 He said he was seated when the compartments derailed, which is why he survived the accident.  The Kalka-Shimla track was opened to public in November 1903 and is a major tourist attraction, especially for foreigners.

In July 2010, there was a derailment on the route which left one injured.
In December 2008, one passenger was killed and six others were injured when three coaches of the Kalka-Shimla holiday special derailed in a tunnel in the Solan district.

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