Over 30 persons died and 160 were injured in three major train bomb blasts in the last few decades

The erstwhile composite Tiruchi district witnessed three major train bomb blasts in the last few decades.

The explosions involving the Tiruchi-Erode passenger (1986), the Chennai-Tiruchi Rockfort Express (1987) and the Chennai-Madurai Pandian Express (1997) claimed more than 30 lives, besides injuring about 160 passengers.

Bomb culture was something unheard of in the State till an explosive went off in a carriage of the Tiruchi – Erode passenger at the Mutharasanallur Railway Station, seven km from Tiruchi, on December 23, 1986. One person was killed and 25 were injured.

In a tragedy that shook the whole nation, about 25 persons were killed and over 150 injured when the diesel loco and eight bogies of the Chennai - Tiruchi Rockfort Express met with an accident over the river Marudaiyar bridge between Ariyalur and Sillakudi Railway Stations at 4.40 a.m. on March 15, 1987. A bomb blast caused it.

The blast was a case of perfect and consummate planning. The entry of the engine on the bridge coincided with the blast at the other end of the 600-feet-long structure. The loco had fallen perpendicularly just outside the bridge, with the following eight bogies telescoping into one another.

The entire rails to a distance of about 30 to 40 feet had been pulled out and the base steel structure of the bridge got twisted.

The bogies were seen hanging topsy-turvy on the bridge. One bogie had landed on the dry river bed, while the others were found hanging in a precarious position.

The intention of the criminals seemed to blow off the bridge when the Rockfort Express reached it. In yet another incident that took place on the Babri Masjid demolition anniversary day of December 6, 1997, a powerful bomb ripped apart a second class sleeper coach of the Madurai-bound Pandian Express just minutes after the train arrived at the Tiruchi junction at 4.45 a.m. Four persons were killed and eight were injured . On the same day, two other blasts took place in the Coimbatore-bound Cheran Express near Erode and the Alleppey Express entering Kerala.

All the three trains had started from Chennai the previous night.

The artilce has been corrected for a factual error.

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