Norwich man describes Indian train crash as dead British passenger is named

Indian police and volunteers inspect the site of the train derailment in Himachal Pradesh state, Ind

Indian police and volunteers inspect the site of the train derailment in Himachal Pradesh state, India on Saturday. (AP Photo/Kapil Sethi) - Credit: AP

A British great-grandmother who died in a train crash in north India was on a 'once-in-a-lifetime holiday', her family said.

Joan Nichols, 71, and another British woman were both killed in the accident.

Mrs Nichols's husband, John, 72, from South Shields, was also injured and has been released from hospital, it has been reported.

Their two daughters and son are said to be travelling to India.

Mrs Nichols's niece, Andrea Davison, told the BBC she was grandmother to five children and great-grandmother to two children. She was also a volunteer for the Samaritans.

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The train was travelling from Kalka to the Indian Himalayan town of Shimla when it came off the tracks at around 1pm local time on Saturday.

Passenger David Carding from Norwich told the BBC: 'Obviously we were totally shocked and couldn't understand at first what was going on.

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'One lady was brought alongside our carriage, and one of the other passengers attended to her, and she had really severe head and facial injuries.'

Passengers were travelling on a four-carriage tourist service chartered by Great Rail Journeys.

Chief executive officer Peter Liney 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 September 10 and was due to finish on September 22.

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.

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