Vaibhavwadi train crash

Vaibhavwadi train crash

The Vaibhavwadi rail disaster was a fatal train crash near the village of Vaibhavwadi in Sindhudurg district, Maharashtra in India on 23 June 2003.


The accident occurred at 10.30pm in the evening, when the train, bound for Mumbai from Karwar derailed suddenly as it travelled through a ravine outside the town. The train was a "Central Railway's Holiday Special", and had numerous families aboard at the time of the crash. The track had been covered by several large boulders earlier in the day from a landslide down the ravine's side, which had not been noticed due to the remote location. When the train struck the boulders, the engine and first three carriages were thrown in the air by the force of the derailment, and crumpled upon impact.

The rescue operation was difficult, because unlike with most Indian train accidents, local people did not see or hear the crash, and thus it was hours before the emergency services were notified, and even longer before they arrived, travelling on bad roads in bad weather. Special emergency trains could not be used either, because of the dangers of further landslides. Thus it was the morning before many of the survivors were freed by soldiers and emergency services.

52 people were killed in the crash and over 100 injured, including 26 in a critical state. Many of those injured in the crash had died in the night because of the difficulties inherent in reaching them in the darkness. The customary one lakh compensation was presented to the families of those killed.

The cause of the crash was determined to have been rocks and earth, which tumbled onto the tracks ahead following a series of earth tremors, to which this area is especially prone. These then caused the engine to leave the rails when it collided with them. There was controversy about the accident though, because the company which runs the service, the Konkan Railway Corporation, has just developed a new type of anti-collision device which would have prevented the crash. The device had been sold to other Indian and foreign companies, but had not yet been installed on their own vehicles.


While not foolproof, so-called landslide detectors can give warning to trains of the occurrence of landslides on the track ahead. Of course, landslide detection cannot be installed everywhere and it is easy to be wise after the event.

Similar accidents

Landslides can be classed with washaways.

* - Tangiwai disaster
* - Veligonda train disaster
* - Karanjadi train crash
* - Bethrungra - 1885 - 7 killed when train derails at culvert washaway.

External links

* [ Calcutta Telegraph News Report]
* [ News Report]
* [ Deccan Herald News Report]

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