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30 killed in train blaze

Police examine a burnt coach at the scene of an early morning fire.

NEW DELHI — A Chennai-bound express train caught fire today in a pre-dawn accident in Andhra Pradesh, killing at least 30 passengers.

The fire broke out in a coach of the Tamil Nadu Express near Nellore, around 500 kilometres from Hyderabad, when most of the passengers were asleep.

“As per reports, 30 people have died in the accident and 20 have been injured,” Railway Minister Mukul Roy said at a press conference in Kolkata.

“We still do not know the cause, we do not know how the train caught fire.”

The Indian Railways is a vital national transportation grid for the country’s 1.2 billion people, cramming 18 million people a day on to ageing trains.

But decades of low investment, a patchy safety record and frequent delays mean India has fallen far behind China in building a network fit for Asia’s third-largest economy. (Reuters)

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