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Many feared killed in Indian train crash
Updated: 2005-04-21 11:00

AHMEDABAD, India - A passenger train collided with a stopped goods train in western India on Thursday, killing at least 11 people but authorities said dozens more are feared dead.

Casualty reports varied widely as rescue teams reached the site of the early morning crash in Gujarat state and began removing the dead and injured from the crumpled wreckage.

"Eleven bodies have been recovered. Not more than 20 are feared dead," state police chief A.K. Bhargava told Reuters.

But another police officer said dozens were feared killed in the crash and state Chief Minister Narendra Modi told NDTV television news more than 80 may have died.

National Railway Minister Lalu Prasad Yadav said rescue workers had removed bodies of the passenger train driver, his assistant and some passengers after the crash at Samlaya station, about 20 miles north of the industrial town of Baroda.

"The goods train was parked on the track when the Varanasi-Ahmedabad Express hit it," Yadav told reporters.

"One of the cars is badly stuck at the bottom, we have to find out the casualties from that car. It could have been a signal problem, but we'll have to investigate."

At least four cars of the passenger train, called the Sabarmati Express, jumped the tracks after the collision. Officials said 50 injured passengers had been treated on the spot before being sent to hospitals.

Television reports said the train was packed with young people on their way to sit tests for coveted railway jobs.

The train had been traveling from the northern holy city of Varanasi to Ahmedabad, Gujarat's main city.

About 300 accidents occur every year on India's railways, which operate almost 12,000 trains carrying more than 13 million people every day, or about the population of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

Experts say the rail system, saddled with huge losses because of rock-bottom fares and a massive workforce, has little money to invest in improving safety and infrastructure.

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