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Deadly Train Crash In North India

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At least 20 people are feared dead after a passenger train derailed and hit a stationary goods train in India's Uttar Pradesh state, officials say.

Six coaches of the Gorakhdham Express went off the rails and ploughed into the freight train at Chureb railway station in Sant Kabir Nagar district.

Railway spokesman Anil Saxena told the BBC nine bodies had been recovered.

Officials said rescuers were searching through the mangled coaches and a number of people were trapped.

Eighty-three people had been injured, including the train's driver and assistant driver who were in a critical condition, they added.

The train was travelling from Gorakhpur town to Hisar in Haryana state.

'A medical train with doctors and paramedics has reached the site of the crash,' Mr Saxena said. 'We've also sent machines to cut the coaches to reach the passengers who are still trapped.'

'My condolences to families of those who lost their lives in the Gorakhdham express tragedy. Prayers with the injured,' Narendra Modi, who takes over as India's prime minister later on Monday, tweeted.

'Spoke to the cabinet secretary. Asked him to take an overview of the situation and ensure timely assistance to those injured,' he added.

India's railway network operates 9,000 passenger trains and carries some 18 million passengers every day.

There have been numerous train accidents in recent years, killing hundreds of people.

In December, 26 people died in a fire which engulfed a carriage of the Nanded-Bangalore Express while it was travelling through southern Andhra Pradesh state.

In August, 28 people were killed after being hit by an express train while crossing the tracks in the state of Bihar.