There are many ways we may choose to traverse this huge, wonderful world of ours. With so many possibilities, from cars, planes to trains, why would we limit ourselves to just one mode of transportation? Well, perhaps these 10 deadliest train accidents will be reason enough for you to avoid them. Warning, this video may not be suitable for all audiences.
2004 Sri Lanka Tsunami-Rail Disaster
Putting a closure on this tale of tragedy and death is the 2004 Sri Lanka, Tsunami-rail disaster. This is the largest single railway disaster in the world by death toll - claiming an estimated 1,700 lives or more. The coastal railway was struck by the tsunami which resulted from the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake. The #50 train, named the Matara Express, but locally known as the Queen of the Sea Line or the Ocean Queen Express, departed on December 26th. When officials learned of the oncoming tsunami, they attempted to put a halt to all trains running - in which they were able to put a cease to 8, but were sadly unable to reach the Matara Express.
A French troop train, carrying roughly 1000 French troops derailed in 1917, leading to the deaths of 700+ soldiers, as they made their way home on leave during WW1. Occurring on the Culoz-Modane railway, the derailment happened as the train hit the incline to the Maurienne valley - causing a crash and soon after, a fire. With nearly 420 or so bodies were left recognizable, little could be done to confirm their identities. This day would go on to live in the hearts of many, and a commemorative plate was installed upon the site to remember those who perished in France's deadliest rail accident.
The Ciurea rail disaster, or Ciurea catastrophe, occurred during WWI in 1917, at Ciurea station, Iași County. With no formal investigation, the exact reason for the accident has never been known, and the total death toll remains uncertain. Most sources, however, put the death toll between 800 and 1,000, making the Ciurea rail disaster the third worst in the world, in accordance to estimated casualties. Among the reasons for the deaths are, derailing, fires, collision to fuel tanks, being run over, and even crushed by falling debris and box cars.
June 6th, 1981, is a day India will remember forever. On that day, a passenger train which carried more than 800 passengers derailed and plunged into the Bagmati river - as it crossed the bridge between Mansi and Saharsa. The estimated death toll comes in between 500 to 800 people, while only 200 bodies or so have been recovered; since most of the bodies were washed away by the river currents. The cause of the derailing is largely unknown, with many possibilities being either a flash flood, brake failure or a cyclone.
Guadalajara Train Disaster
The oldest disaster to appear on our list, the Guadalajara train disaster occurred in Mexico, killing 600 of the 900 passengers on board, in 1915. After Venustiana Carranza and Pancho Villa overthrew the then president, Victoriana Huerta, in 1914, Villa wished for the revolution to continue, and in 1915, president Carranza captured Guadalajara and ordered the families of his troops to be brought to them. A train of twenty cars would depart from Colima, packed to the brim with the family members, so packed, passengers clung to the side and roofs, and undercarriages. Sometime during the transportation the engineer lost control as the train gathered speed - resulting in the train taking a plummet down into a deep canyon.
Ufa Train Disaster
Back in 1989 when many of us were still young, or perhaps not thought of yet, an explosion would claim the lives of 575 people, and injuring roughly 800 near the town of Asha - in what would be the deadliest railway accident to occur in Russian history. The explosion would happen when a pipeline began secreting natural gases, mainly that of propane and butane. This highly flammable cloud of fumes became ignited by the sparks from the wheels of two trains. In a tragic turn of events, both trains were carrying many children to and from their vacations.
Balvano Train Disaster
Another accident occurring in the year 1944 known as the Balvano train disaster - in which some 517 people died - was caused when a steam-powered freight train ceased on a steep slope. Carbon monoxide would then vent into the cars, where some 426 illegal passengers were stowed away. After the fall of the fascist government of Benito Mussolini, many opportunists began bartering for commodities from servicemen with fresh fruit and vegetables - so they stowed away on trains to reach their suppliers' farms. With a shortage of coal at the time, railway companies began burning low-grade substitutes, which resulted in the odorless, poisonous gas to be released.
Torre del Bierzo Rail Disaster
The village of Torre del Bierzo of Spain's León province, was in for quite a shock back in 1944, as three trains collided within a tunnel. Another case of improper counting involved initially puts the official death toll at a mere 78, but was estimated between 200 and 250 at the time. However, more recent studies have placed the estimate of death well over 500.
The January 14th, 1985 derailing of a train on the Addis Ababa - Djibouti railway, between Arba and Awash, seen five carriages plummet down into a ravine. The crash was estimated to have resulted in the deaths of 428 passengers, and injuring 500 more of the 1000 on board. Currently, this resides as the worst railway accident in African history. The cause of the derailing is believed to be due to excessive speeding of the train as it rounded the curve of the bridge.
Al Ayyat Railway Accident
An eleven car passenger train traveling from Cairo to Luxor caught fire when a gas cylinder exploded in the fifth car. The train, however, was not derailed, and the fire would spread as the train continued to run - with seven of its eleven carriages ablaze, hardly anything but cinders were left behind. Officials released an estimated death count of 383 Egyptian lives. Controversy would arise over the official release, with people saying each of the seven cars were carrying roughly double the maximum capacity of 150 passengers.