TOBA TEK SINGH/LAHORE -  Six members of a family were crushed to death when train hit their car at an unmanned railway crossing near Gojra on Sunday.

A spokesman for the railway police said a car (LSJ-6464) carrying six people was going across an unmanned crossing near Chak No 93-JB when Lahore-bound Shalimar Express hit it.

All deceased of the same family including a woman and a child, were on their way from Sillanwali, Sargodha to see some relatives in a village. The dead included Mansab Ali, his wife Shahnaz, his minor son Faizan and his relatives Falak Sher, Muhammad Afzal and Muhammad Nasir. Bodies were shifted to Gojra THQ Hospital.

The gate at the crossing was open at the time, which led to the accident.

The Shalimar Express was going to Lahore from Karachi.

Later, hundreds of villagers staged a protest demonstration on the track for two hours demanding installation of a manned gate on the crossing.

Later PML-N MNA Khalid Warraich had talks with protesters and assured them that a gate would be installed there soon. Getting the assurance, protesters dispersed peacefully.

Taking notice of the Gojra incident, Railways Minister Saad Rafique on Sunday sought a report into the tragedy within 48 hours.

He said Pakistan Railways required Rs25 billion to turn unmanned level crossings into manned.

He was talking to journalists at Railways Headquarters in the backdrop of another train accident near Shorkot which occurred when Shalimar Express collided with a car at the unmanned level crossing near Shorkot on Sunday at 11.22am. The accident resulted in killing of all six passengers including a woman and child in the car.

The level crossing number 65 at Faisalabad-Shorkot section was unmanned and according to the initial inquiry, there was no fog when accident happened.

The train was on its way from Lahore to Karachi when the over speeding car collided with it due to car driver’s negligence, said the Railways minister quoting inquiry.

“We are deeply grieved over the tragedy but please keep in mind that turning unmanned level crossings into manned is a responsibility of provincial governments. Railways had placed a warning board and made a speed breaker over there,” said the minister.

“The provincial government did not pay any attention to repeated calls of the railways for changing all unmanned level crossings into manned,” he added.

There are 3,987 level crossings at entire railways network and among them 1,517 are manned and 2,470 are unmanned. Among the 2,470 unmanned, 1,195 (highest) in Punjab, 504 in Sindh, 86 in Balochistan and 133 in KP.

More than 80 people died in accidents at unmanned level crossing during last three and half years. The trend of establishing level crossings at rail network has been abolished worldwide to give trains free passage. But things are yet to be modernised in the Pakistan.

Kh Saad said the past government did nothing to bring improvement in public utility including paying attention to the serious issue of level crossings. Now, he added, the PR had planned to remove level crossings on different routes being up-graded under China-Pakistan Economic Corridor.

He said Punjab and Sindh governments had released some funds for making manned level crossings while KP and Balochistan governments had so far not released any money for the purpose.