|2019 Pakistan train fire|
Route of the Tezgam express shown in blue.
|Date||31 October 2019|
06:18 am PST (01:18 UTC)
|Location||near Liaquat Pur railway station|
|Incident type||Train fire|
|Damage||Three carriages destroyed|
On 31 October 2019, Pakistan Railways' Tezgam passenger train caught fire while traveling from Karachi to Rawalpindi, resulting in at least 75 passenger deaths. The train accident was the deadliest in Pakistan since 2005, when the Ghotki rail crash killed more than 100 people.Preliminary evidence suggested the explosion of a portable stove occurred because some passengers illegally cooked food aboard the train. Such use of gas stoves is common on Pakistan's railways; train authorities often turn a blind eye to the dangerous practice.
Pakistan Railways is the national, state-owned railway company of Pakistan. Founded in 1861 and headquartered in Lahore, it owns 4,800 miles (7,791 km) of track across Pakistan from Torkham to Karachi and operates freight and passenger service. Pakistan Railways was also known as the Pakistan Western Railway from 1947 to 1974.
Tezgam is a daily express train service between Karachi and Rawalpindi in Pakistan. Tezgam means "fast runner". It is one of the oldest and popular trains of Pakistan. It was started in 1950s between Karachi and Peshawar. Later its route was shortened to Karachi and Rawalpindi.
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The accident occurred at 6:18 a.m. PST (01:18 UTC) on Main Line 1 in Liaquatpur tehsil, Rahim Yar Khan district, Punjab aboard the Tezgam express passenger train. Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad, the Pakistani Federal Minister for Railways, reported that two gas stoves exploded, setting the train on fire. Other reports, though, along with survivors' testimonies, suggested an electrical problem was the cause of the fire. The train was carrying 933 people, 207 of whom were in the three carriages that were gutted.
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Ten fire engines were dispatched to the scene of the fireand Pakistani Army troops assisted in the rescue operation. The most severely injured were taken to Bahawal Victoria Hospital in Bahawalpur and Nishtar Hospital in Multan. Those with less severe wounds were treated at DHQ hospital in Liaquatpur and Shaikh Zayed Hospital in Rahim Yar Khan. According to witnesses, the train's fire took 20 minutes to put out. Another train was dispatched to rescue stranded passengers and take them to Rawalpindi.
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