India train accident: Bihar trains resume after hitting pilgrims

People running away from the site of the train accident in Bihar on Monday 19 August 2013
Image caption An angry crowd set the train on fire after the accident

Services have been partially restored at a remote station in the Indian state of Bihar where 28 people were killed after being hit by an express train while crossing the tracks.

Trains have been restored in one direction and the authorities have announced compensation for the victims.

On Monday, the state chief minister said 37 people had died, but railway officials later revised the toll down.

An angry mob then assaulted the driver and set the train alight.

The victims, mostly Hindu pilgrims, had just alighted from a local train at Dhamara Ghat station and were on their way to a temple in Saharsa district.

The pilgrims were hit by the Rajya Rani Express travelling on the opposite track.

Image caption The fire started by the mob destroyed most of the train

"When I reached the scene, bodies were lying scattered all around. People were crying for help and there was no medical facility to be seen. Help came only after four or five hours," eyewitness Tuntun Ram told the BBC on Tuesday morning.

Railway officials said the express train was travelling at high speed as it was not expected to stop at Dhamara Ghat station.

But after the accident, it stopped a few hundred metres away. An angry mob then pulled out the driver and severely assaulted him.

India's state-owned railway network is vast - it operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries some 18 million passengers every day.

A government-appointed safety panel in its report last year said about 15,000 people were killed each year crossing train tracks in what officials describe as "unlawful trespassing".

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