Home-made bomb derails Russian express, killing 26

Death toll expected to rise, as police search for men who planted device on Moscow-St Petersburg track

A home-made bomb is believed to have caused the derailment of the Nevsky Express train between Moscow and St Petersburg on Friday night that killed at least 26 people, and injured more than 100, many of them seriously. The death toll is expected to rise to around 40.

The bomb blew a five-foot crater in the tracks as the train passed at a speed of up to 130mph, detaching and overturning the three rear carriages.

The head of Russia's FSB security service said that the bomb was equivalent to 15lbs of TNT, and a spokesman for the Investigative Committee confirmed that traces of the device had been found at the site.

A second bomb partially exploded at the crash site yesterday afternoon as railway workers cleared the debris, according to Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin.

A criminal investigation has begun, with Interior Ministry personnel searching for suspects hiding in nearby villages. One was thought to be a red-haired man aged about 40.

The 14-car train, packed with more than 650 passengers, was speeding through forests when the disaster happened late on Friday, 250 miles northwest of Moscow and 150 miles southeast of St Petersburg. The train lights went out and it screeched to a halt.

Passengers told Russian media of carnage in the final three carriages. People had been "shaken up like a box of matches", said one passenger from the front of the train who had gone back to help in the rescue. "In the last carriage people and seats were thrown together and entangled; there were horrible injuries." One woman, Yekaterina Ivanova, said she was trapped for four hours as rescuers sought to free her. Injured passengers huddled around fires as they waited to be taken to local hospitals, which struggled to cope with the load. All but the most critical were removed yesterday to hospitals in St Petersburg or Moscow.

The line between the two cities is the busiest in Russia, with dozens of trains a day making the trip, many of them overnight. The Nevsky Express is a fast, premium train, making the journey in four and a half hours, and on a Friday evening would have been mainly filled with business travellers returning to St Petersburg. These trains are the fastest and most expensive in Russia, and the pride of Russian Railways. In just two weeks' time, a ceremonial launch was planned for a new, super-fast train on this route.

As far as terrorism goes, the most likely perpetrators would be Islamic rebels linked to the Chechen separatist movement, although authorities are refusing to speculate and no group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. In August, a Chechen rebel website published a letter from a group claiming links to separatist leader Doku Umarov, stating that groups of fighters had been dispatched across Russia to target power stations, oil pipelines, and other key infrastructure as part of an "economic war".

A bomb blast on the same line derailed a train in 2007, injuring 27, and a court case into that is in progress. But this would be the first fatal act of terrorism in Russia outside the North Caucasus for years. Murders, hostage-takings and bombs are frequent in Chechnya and neighbouring territories, but the last time rebels struck a fatal blow outside the region was in 2004. Then, two planes leaving Moscow were blown up by suicide bombers, while another blew himself up on a crowded metro train. Russians will hope this attack, if a Chechen link is confirmed, does not signal the start of a renewed campaign of terror aimed at the country's very heartland.

Life and Style
“What is it like being a girl?” was the question on the lips of one inquisitive Reddit user this week
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Life and Style
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Luis Suarez looks towards the crowd during the 2-1 victory over England
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

JavaScript Developer (Angular, Web Forms, HTML5, Ext JS,CSS3)

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits + Bonus: Harrington Starr: JavaScript Dev...


£50000 - £70000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Business Analyst Consultant (Fina...

SAP Data Migration Consultant

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client, a FTSE 100 organisation are u...

Programme Support, Coms, Bristol, £300-350p/d

£300 - £350 per day + competitive: Orgtel: My client, a leading bank, is curre...

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice