Nishapur train disaster

Nishapur Train Disaster

Nishapur train disaster

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The Nishapur train disaster was a large explosion in the village of Khayyam, near Nishapur in Iran, on 18 February 2004. Over 300 people were killed and the entire village destroyed, when runaway train wagons crashed into the community in the middle of the night and exploded.

The incident began in the city of Nishapur, where 51 railway wagons carrying sulphur, fertiliser, petrol and cotton wool broke loose from their siding at Abu Muslim Station, and rolled down the track for about twenty kilometers, until they derailed and rolled down an embankment into the town of Khayyam. There was nobody manning the wagons, or on board at the time of the crash, but local rescue services from all the neighbouring towns arrived to rescue anybody who might have been trapped inside, and to extinguish several minor fires which had broken out in the wreckage.

The substances in the wagons were all highly explosive or flammable (although the Iranian railway authority had not classed any of them as "dangerous" before the incident), and had leaked following the crash. As the small fires spread, a large crowd of local people, including several local politicians and senior railway officials gathered to watch the emergency operation.

During the cleanup operation, the cargo of the wagons exploded, reportedly the equivalent of 180 tons of TNT, which demolished Khayyam, badly damaged the nearby towns of Eshaqala, Dehnow, Nishapur and Taqrabad, and could be felt in the city of Mashhad, 70...
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