Chattogram-bound Udayan Express from Sylhet and Dhaka-bound Turna Nishita from Chattogram collided at Mondobagh Railway Station on early Tuesday, said Shyamal Kanti Das, chief of Akhaura Railway Police.
Ten people died on the spot around 3:30am while six others died in different hospitals, according to Deputy Commissioner Hayat-ud-Daula Khan.
The accident left more than 50 people injured.
The fatal accident snapped Dhaka’s rail links with Chattogram and Sylhet.
“We believe that the accident occurred due to the negligence of Turna Nishita’s driver,” said Additional Director General of Railways Mia Jahan.
The two trains were crossing in Mondobagh, said Mia Jahan. Udayan Express was entering the loop line from the main line after receiving the signal.
“After nine bogeys of the train crossed over into the loop line, Turna Nishita hit the 10th bogey. We have initially learnt that the incident took place because of the loco master’s disregard for the signal.”
After the collision, several bogeys of Turna found their way to the top of some Udayan’s bogeys. Two other bogeys were severely twisted.
Fire Service and Civil Defence rescuers fear that there might be more bodies trapped inside the bogeys.
Soon after the accident, the railway authorities started a rescue operation with the help of the locals. Later, they were joined by three units of the fire service and policemen.
The bodies could not be identified immediately. Rescuers have placed nine bodies at a temporary camp near the site.
Currently, there are three bodies at Kasba Upazila Health Complex, two at Brahmanbaria Sadar Hospital and one at Cumilla Sadar Hospital.
The families of the victims will be given Tk 25,000 each in compensation, said the deputy commissioner.
Meanwhile, the district administration has formed a three-member committee headed by Additional District Magistrate Mitu Morium to investigate the cause of the accident. Besides, two more inquiry committees have been constituted by the railways.
Shariful Alam, senior public relations officer of the Ministry of Railways, said that Railways Minister Nurul Islam Sujan, along with senior officers, are heading towards Kasba.
Two relief trains from Laksam and Akhaura have arrived on the scene to clear the line. It may take a few hours before it becomes operational again, rail officials said.