Scots survive Indian train crash as two Britons die

TWO Scottish tourists survived the Indian rail crash which killed two holidaymakers and clambered free from the carnage.

Two British tourists were killed and nine other passengers injured when a train carrying tourists to the hill town of Shimla in northern India derailed. Picture: Getty/AFP

Ian Calder, 60, and his wife Helen, 58, from Galashiels in Selkirkshire, have been left “traumatised” by the ordeal, their family said.

The couple, who own The Salmon Inn in Galashiels, escaped without serious injury after three carriages of the train came off the tracks as it rounded a bend on the Kalka-Shimla Unesco Heritage Trail around on Saturday.

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However, Mr Calder had to have his back and shoulders X-rayed and his wife was checked over by medical staff.

The pair, who recently celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, are travelling home and are due back home later this week.

Pamela Kelly, 34, the couple’s daughter, also from Galashiels, said: “I’m so thankful they are fine. Someone must have been looking down on them.

“They are completely traumatised and very emotional with all that’s happened.

“It’s horrific and I can’t imagine what the other families are going through.”

The train had 37 Britons onboard.

Last night Michael Gray, chairman of Energise Galashiels, of which Mrs Calder is a member, said the couple were well known in the town.

“Helen and Ian are both well known in Galashiels and do a lot of work in the community. Everyone is wishing them well,” Mr Gray said.

One of the two women killed was Joan Nichols, 71, a great-grandmother from South Shields.

Mrs Nichols’ niece, Andrea Davison, said she was grandmother to five children and great-grandmother to two children. She was also a volunteer for the Samaritans Her husband John, 72, was reported to have been injured and released from hospital.

The other victim was named as Lorraine Toner, from Sheffield, believed to be aged 60.

Suresh Prabhu, India’s railway minister, has ordered an investigation into the accident. Passengers were travelling on a tourist service chartered by Great Rail Journeys, based in York.

Peter Liney, the company’s chief executive, said 36 passengers and one tour manager were on the train.

He added: “In connection with the two passengers and our tour manager who have been hospitalised, we are glad to report that one passenger has now been discharged and is being looked after by our emergency response team.

“The other passenger and our tour manager remain in hospital under close supervision and the most recent bulletin indicated that they are in a stable condition.

“The majority of our passengers have now continued their tour. Some are already in Shimla, and others will join them there later today.

“A small number of our customers have decided to travel home and we will of course facilitate this when they are ready.”

Representatives from the York-based travel company are at the scene along with senior staff and qualified counsellors.

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

Foreign Office minister for Asia Hugo Swire said he was “deeply saddened”.

“My thoughts are with their family and friends at this difficult time,” he added.

The cause of the derailment is under investigation.