Express train derailment blamed on damaged tracks
- Published: 17/07/2013 at 05:49 PM
- Online news:
Damaged tracks caused the derailment of the Bangkok-Chiang Mai overnight express in Phrae province on Wednesday morning, State Railway of Thailand (SRT) governor Prapat Chongsanguen said.
Thai and foreign passengers wait for help after their express train derailed in Den Chai district of Phrae province on Wednesday morning. (Photo by Taweesak Sukkasem)
Mr Prapat and Transport Minister Chadchat Suttipunt both denied human error had caused the derailment of the Nakhon Ping train, which injured 30 passengers, four seriously.
The SRT released 23 names of injured passengers, only five of them Thais.
They were identified as (names and spelling unconfirmed):
Mrs Bajsa Ottilie, 53, Mrs Lisa Calvert, 43, Miss Bianchi Magali, 17, and Mr Maria Laura, 27, from Australia.
Mr Danjou Morgan Pierre, 24, Gasparetto Adrien Arthur Dominique, 14, Mr Beck Justinelola, 22, Mrs Marteil Pascale Germaine, 46, and Miss Lerouet Heloise, 27, from France.
Thais injured were named as Mrs Ploenpit Bupacharoen, 77, Phra Amnat Chaleiklai, 60, Miss Papatchaya Khanmuang, 23, Phra Ae Thammakror, 68, and Mrs Sirimada Duangnet, 63.
Two Spaniards were among the injured. They were named as Mrs Aiinhoa Avalos, 21, and Miss Josejanier Garcia, 27.
Others are Mrs Yue Wang, 21, from Japan, Mrs Van Durme, 38, from Belgium, Mr Wojtowicz Michaigrzegorz, 21, from Poland, Mr Lou Yo, 22, from China, Mr Richie Machaelda, 68, from the United States, Miss Sarah Gave from New Zealand and Mr Marcelo Contrer from Chile.
Mrs Ottilie, Mrs Yue Wang, Mrs Ploenpit and Mr Pierre were being treated at Phrae Hospital in Muang district. Phra Ae was being treated at the Crown Prince Hospital in Den Chai, and the rest were released from hospital, the SRT said.
The other injured were not named by the state railway agency.
The Nakhon Ping express train is very popular with tourists visiting Chiang Mai.
The accident occurred between kilometres markers 540 and 541, between Pak Pan and Kaeng Luang stations about 3.45am. Seven of the 10 train coaches - five second-class air-conditioned sleeping berths, one first-class sleeping carriage and one diner car - derailed.
It was the seventh accident in the past four months on the northern track, three each in Phrae and Lampang provinces.
The northern line is a scenic train route in Thailand. Most of it is single track. The line runs mostly through flat areas from Bangkok to Sila At station in Muang district of Uttaradit province and then enters the hilly terrain to Lamphun province before going through a northern plain to Chiang Mai.
Mr Prapat said a preliminary investigation blamed the accident on the deteriorated condition of a bend in the track, where trains are usually required to slow down.
The speed limit in the hilly terrain is 45 kilometre per hour and the derailed train was travelling at only 40kph.
Mr Chadchat said details of the investigation will be made public on Thursday.
The track at the accident scene was now under repair, and wooden sleepers were being replaced with concrete sleepers, he added.
He said the SRT is upgrading single tracks across the country, and it would hopefully be completed in six months, he said.
The service on the main line remained disrupted Wednesday evening. Trains from Chiang Mai and Bangkok were stopping short of the derailment and passengers were being transferred between the two points by buses.
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- Writer: Online Reporters
Position: Online Reporters