Around 10 people were killed and 50 seriously injured when a passenger train rammed into a stationary train near Arakkonam junction, 75 km from Chennai at 9.30 pm on Tuesday.
The Chennai Beach to Vellore train was waiting for signal at the Malappalam station, when the Arrakonam-Katpadi passenger train rammed into it. Five bogies of the two trains were derailed due to the impact of the crash.
Chennai's ADRM said on Wednesday that 10 passengers were dead and at least 50 passengers were reported to be critically injured. They were rushed to the Arakkonam government hospital.
Rescue efforts, initially hampered by rains, were over with all the injured shifted to hospitals. The accident's cause was being investigated, said railways minister Dinesh Trivedi.
Terming himself "disturbed" over the incident, Trivedi said he was leaving for the accident site, along with minister of state for railways KH Muniyappa, the Railway Board chairman and other board officials, by the first available flight Wednesday morning.
He also announced ex-gratia compensation of Rs.5 lakh for the dead, Rs.1 lakh for the seriously injured and Rs.25,000 for the others.
Trivedi refused to speak about the cause of the incident, noting it could not be ascertained yet.
"We do not know what exactly had happened... these things take time. But we will not leave any stone unturned," he said.
Noting the driver of the train that hit the stationary train was alive and being treated, he said the driver could tell them on what happened as soon as he was in a condition to do so.
He said he ordered a breath-analyser test of the driver but it came out negative.
Efforts to rescue people trapped in the wreckage had been hampered by the darkness and heavy rain in the area but rescue teams, with the necessary equipment and aided by local people, had completed the task, officials at the spot said.
This is the second major train accident this year. In July, a Kolkata-bound express train derailed at a high speed in Uttar Pradesh, leading to 63 deaths.
With agency inputs