South Shields dad reunited with family after wife’s tragic rail death

Joan Nichols, the South Shields woman who died when a tourist train crashed in India.
Joan Nichols, the South Shields woman who died when a tourist train crashed in India.

The children of a South Tyneside woman killed in an Indian train derailment have arrived safely at their grieving father’s side.

Joan Nichols, from Marsden, South Shields, was travelling with her husband John, when the accident happened on Saturday.

Indian officials investigate the derailment of the tourist train.

Indian officials investigate the derailment of the tourist train.

The 71-year-old died, along with another British tourist, when the train derailed between Kalka and Shimla.

Her two daughters and son flew to India be with Mr Nichols, 72, who also suffered a knee injury, and were reunited with him on Monday afternoon.

Niece Andrea Davison, 48, who lives next door to her aunt and uncle, said: “We’re still waiting to hear what’s happening at the moment, it’s just a waiting game.

“But my cousins all arrived safely and they’re now with their father, at least he’s got all of his children by his side.”

Tributes have been flooding in for Mrs Nichols, who worked as a dinner lady before becoming a volunteer 10 years ago.

The gran-of-five worked initially with the CVS, which is now in Beach Road, South Shields, before helping out last year at Trinity House Social Centre in Laygate.

Sarah Calder wrote: “She was one of the kindest, warm hearted women I’ve met, always happy and would do anything for anyone.

“She’s passed on all of her wonderful traits to her family, which is what will get them all through this tragedy.”

Toni Nickie added: “I feel so privileged to have known Joan for many years, such a caring a wonderful woman. She was beautiful inside and out. Thoughts are with all the family ! Rest in peace Joan.”

Kerry Payne said: “Rip Joan such a tragic shame. Deepest sympathy to all her family.”

The couple were travelling on a four-carriage tourist service chartered by York-based Great Rail Journeys.

Chief executive officer Peter Liney said 36 passengers and a 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. A small number of our customers have decided to travel home and we will facilitate this when they are ready.”

The tour, India’s Golden Triangle, left for India on September 10 and was due to finish on September 22.

An investigation is under way.