Sheffield woman named as Indian train crash victim

Indian police and volunteers inspect the site of the train derailment in Himachal Pradesh state, India. Two British women tourists were killed.
Indian police and volunteers inspect the site of the train derailment in Himachal Pradesh state, India. Two British women tourists were killed.
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The investigation is continuing into the death of a Sheffield woman and another Briton when a train derailed in northern India on Saturday.

The tourist service, which had been chartered by York-based travel company Great Rail Journeys, was travelling to the Himalayan town of Shimla when nine carriages came off the track at around 1pm local time.

Loraine Tonner, from Millhouses, Sheffield, and Joan Nickolas, both 60, were among the 36 tourists and one tour manager on the train. They have been identified as the two women who were killed in the accident by the Indian press.

The cause of the derailment is not yet known as the investigation continues into the crash, while three victims remain in hospital being treated for non-life-threatening injuries.

Officials from Great Rail Journeys along with a qualified counsellor will arrive in India today to assess the situation and speak to victims.

Responding to the deaths, Minister for Asia Hugo Swire said: “I am deeply saddened that two British nationals have been killed and many others injured in a train accident in northern 
India. My thoughts are with their family and friends at this difficult time.

“Teams from the British High Commission in New Delhi and Deputy High Commission in Chandigarh are on their way to the area to help all those affected.”

The tour, India’s Golden Triangle, left for India on September 10 and was due to finish on September 22.

Peter Liney, chief executive officer at Great Rail Journeys, said a number of victims were taken to a local hospital for treatment although some have been discharged.

“The remaining passengers are safe in the hotel in Chandigarh and are awaiting the arrival of Great Rail Journeys’ emergency response team, led by our director Julian Appleyard and accompanied by an expert counsellor,” Mr Liney said.

The team will “offer any support and help necessary to those passengers who are there”, he continued.

“On site there continues to be a team of our representative’s local staff who are there to give whatever aid and assistance they can.

“We would like to express our very sincere thanks for the enormous support the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has provided over the last 24 hours and, indeed, for the assistance given by the Indian Consular offices in the UK in fast-tracking the emergency visa applications we have required.”

He added: “The families of those who were fatally injured have been informed.

“We are working with the FCO to assist their relatives in travelling to India as soon as possible.”

A Foreign Office spokesman said the families of the deceased have been informed but it was unable to confirm the identities of the passengers.