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Rail transport is one of the cheapest, most convenient and safest. When trains at full speed collide or derail, powerful destructive forces are found to be involved.
The roaring trains become uncontrollable, and a person can no longer stop the disaster. But even these disasters claimed the lives of hundreds of people.
Train fire in Egypt, 2002. This disaster happened with a passenger train, which on February 20, 2002 followed from Cairo to Luxor. A gas cylinder exploded in one of the cars at 2 am - with its help the passengers were heated. The driver did not notice that his train was on fire and continued to drive at full speed. In total, seven cars burned out, and practically to the ground. Of these, six belonged to the cheap third class. Each of them was designed for 150 people, but in fact, there were twice as many passengers. The catastrophe has acquired such proportions due to overloading of the train. The unfortunate people had to jump out of the burning cars at full speed, which also led to deaths and injuries. According to official information, about 383 people burned down in the fire, several hundred were seriously injured. However, it was not possible to find out the exact number of victims, since there was no complete list of passengers. The fire was so intense that many corpses turned to ash, which made it impossible to identify them. Rumors speak of a thousand victims, which cannot be proven. As a result of this incident, the Egyptian Minister of Transport was forced to resign.
The Avash disaster, 1985. This train accident is considered the largest in the history of Africa. It happened in Ethiopia on January 14, 1985 with a train following the Addis Ababa-Djibouti route. The train entered the curved bridge at high speed. The driver could not or forgot to slow down the train. As a result, four out of five express carriages with a thousand passengers and seven passenger cars collapsed into a ravine. At least 428 people died, the number of wounded exceeded five hundred. At the same time, almost all of the victims were in serious condition. The nearest decent hospital was located a hundred kilometers from the accident site. If earlier in Ethiopia local separatists attacked trains, then in this case there was no talk of any sabotage from the beginning. The driver was appointed guilty, who was immediately sent to court.
Torre del Bierzo, 1944. On January 3, 1944, near the Spanish village of Torre del Bierzo, a mail train with failed brakes began to enter tunnel No. 20. There was a shunting train with three carriages, which did not manage to get off the track. Two carriages were inside the tunnel when the courier train collided. The fire immediately consumed the wooden structures and destroyed the first six carriages of the mail train. On the other hand, a steam locomotive with 27 loaded wagons entered the tunnel. The shunting train driver signaled as best he could, but was ignored. The alarm system was damaged by the fire. The disaster turned into a major fire that could not be extinguished for two whole days. This made it impossible to deploy a rescue operation. It was not possible to calculate the exact number of victims - the Franco regime officially announced 78 dead. However, there were many free riders on the train, and the fire destroyed the human remains. Today, it is believed that the number of victims was in the hundreds - the train was overcrowded, because many were on their way to the Christmas market. Already in the 40s they talked about 200-250 dead, but today it is believed that there could be 500-800.
Balvano, 1944. During the Second World War, disruptions in the supply of goods led to the flourishing of the black market. By 1944, speculators and small businessmen were hiding on freight trains to get to their suppliers' farms. But in those years on the railway there was a situation with a shortage of high-quality coal. As a result, lower-order substitutes went into the furnace, which produced a huge volume of carbon monoxide. It was extremely poisonous, but had no smell, which made it unnoticed. On March 2, 1944, a significantly overloaded 8017 train carrying cars got stuck inside a steep tunnel. Its crew, passengers and several hundred passengers, including those illegally huddled outside, fell under the influence of those very carbon monoxide gases. The only survivors were those who rode in the last carriages and did not manage to enter the tunnel. That accident officially claimed the lives of 426 people, but in reality there were one and a half times more victims.
Ufa, 1989. This train disaster is considered the largest in the history of the USSR and Russia. It happened on June 4 on the Asha-Ulu-Telyak stretch. Nearby was the Western-Siberia-Ural pipeline, which transported a liquefied mixture of gas and gasoline. A narrow gap formed in it, through which gas accumulated in the lowland. It was there that the Trans-Siberian Railway ran. Shortly before the disaster, the instruments showed a drop in pressure, but the duty officer decided not to look for a leak, but increased the gas supply even more. As a result, even more combustible hydrocarbons escaped through the crack, which could ignite from any spark. The machinists also knew about the strong gas pollution at the site, but the railroad workers did not attach much importance to this. At 01:15 at night, two passenger trains met on the stretch - going from Novosibirsk to Adler and back. It is quite possible that as a result of braking, a spark was formed, which caused a volumetric explosion. Its strength was such that in the city of Asha, at a distance of 10 kilometers, a blast wave broke glass. In total, there were 1284 passengers on the trains, of which 383 were children. The shock wave threw 11 cars off the tracks, seven of them completely burned down. According to official data, 575 people died (unofficially - 645), almost all the survivors became disabled and received severe burns. The rescue operation turned out to be difficult due to the inaccessibility of the area.
Crash in Bihar State, 1981 The disaster took place between the cities of Muncie and Saharsa. June is the rainy season in India. The rising hurricane wind overturned seven carriages of the train, which was crossing the bridge, into the river. According to another version, the flood simply washed away the train. It housed from eight hundred to three thousand people. They also talk about a cow that appeared out of place on the way. The driver braked sharply, and the cars began to slide along the wet rails, falling off the bridge. Help was an hour's drive from the site, and most of the passengers drowned or were swept away by the stormy river long before the rescuers arrived. In the first five days, two hundred dead were found, and the fate of several hundred passengers remained unknown.
Guadalajara, 1915. The Mexican revolution was in full swing that year. Despite the change of power, President Carranza continued to wage an armed struggle against his opponents. On January 18, 1915, government forces captured the city of Guadalajara in the southwest of the country. The President ordered the families of soldiers to be transported there by rail from Colima on the Pacific coast. On January 22, 1915, a special train with 20 overloaded wagons hit the road. People even sat on rooftops and clung to outside. Somewhere along the road, the driver lost control of the train on a long and steep slope. Many people flew out of the carriages at tight turns. As a result, in a deep canyon, the train finally derailed. Of the 900 passengers, less than a third survived. It is known that many Mexicans even committed suicide after learning about the death of all their loved ones. There were those who wanted to take revenge on the track brigade, but that also all died during the disaster.
The Churya catastrophe, 1917. The section between the Romanian Churya and Barlad is marked by a steep 15-kilometer incline, which in some places is up to 6.7%. On January 13, at 1 pm, a train with 26 carriages, driven by two locomotives, passed here. He transported wounded Russian soldiers and refugees who were hiding from the advancing Germans. And in this case, the train was overcrowded - people were traveling on the roofs and even between the cars. Such an abundance of people led to the fact that they simply damaged the lines of the brake system. As a result, during the descent, the drivers found that they could not slow down. The braking power of the two locomotives was insufficient. The drivers noticed that they were rushing straight to another train, standing at the platform. When trying to switch to another track at high speed, the train derailed. 24 wagons went downhill. A fire broke out in the pile of twisted metal, which claimed the lives of 600 to 1000 passengers.
Saint-Michel-de-Maurienne, 1917. This railway accident became the largest in the history of France. On December 12, over a thousand soldiers returned home on Christmas Echelon # 612. The train was made up of different carriages, mostly Italian. It turned out to be so long that two steam locomotives had to carry it. In addition, part of the path ran through a steep descent of 33%. But only one steam locomotive was found, the second was requisitioned to transport ammunition. And of all the carriages, only three had air brakes, the rest had special brakes. The driver agreed to drive such an overloaded train only under the threat of a tribunal. At first it was possible to control the speed, but on the descent the train accelerated to 135 kilometers per hour. In one of the sharp turns, the coupler broke and the first car derailed. Others began to crash into it and the wooden structures burst into flames. The fire intensified as many soldiers carried ammunition and grenades with them. Despite the help that quickly arrived here, there was no one to save. In total, about 700 people died in that disaster; many bodies could not be identified at all. The people were buried in a single mass grave. At first, the disaster was hushed up as a military secret, but four days later the press reported to the whole world an unprecedented accident. Six railroad workers were brought to trial, but they were acquitted.
Crash in Peralia, 2004. This disaster was the largest in the history of railway transport. The blame was not the human factor, as in most other cases, but the natural disaster. The passenger train "Queen of the Sea" made regular runs in the southern part of the island. Obeying the signals of the semaphore, the train stopped in an open area 170 meters from the sea. More than one and a half thousand passengers were traveling on the train. At that moment, a tsunami struck the island, up to 9 meters high. Panic arose, local residents began to flock to the train, seeing in it a refuge from the water. The second 7-meter wave tore apart the train. Due to the crush, the passengers were unable to get out of the carriages, which turned from a shelter into a death trap. 30-ton cars were thrown into the jungle for a hundred meters, even an 80-ton diesel locomotive was carried away by 50 meters. Those of the unfortunate passengers who were not crushed by the train simply drowned. Only 150 lucky ones survived. Due to the scale of the disaster caused by the tsunami, there was no question of quick help. And the main road to the accident site turned out to be a damaged railway track. The death toll is believed to have ranged from 1,700 to 2,000. It turned out to be impossible to identify most of them, moreover, two cars were generally carried away into the ocean.