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Monday, August 21, 2006

Dozens killed in Egyptian train collision

At least 58 people were killed and more than 100 injured when a passenger train barreled into a northern Egypt railway station Monday and collided with a second train.

The collision occurred in the town of Qalyoub, about 19 kilometres north of the capital, during the morning commute, Adly Hussein, governor of Qalyoubia province, told Egyptian state television.

Four cars derailed and overturned, forcing officials to close the lines from the Nile Delta cities of Benha and Mansoura, where the trains originated. Security forces were searching for survivors and recovering bodies amid the crumpled and destroyed cars.

Health Minister Hatem el-Gabaly said at least 58 people were killed and 143 injured, according to Egypt's official Middle East News Agency.

The train from Mansoura had failed to stop at a signal outside the Qalyoub train station and was going at least 80 km/h when the collision occurred, police sources said.

The driver of the Mansoura train was killed and the locomotive overturned, police said.

Egypt has a history of serious train accidents, which are usually blamed on poorly maintained equipment. Many of those incidents have occurred in the Nile Delta, north of the capital.

The most recent accident, in February, saw 20 people injured when two trains collided at a Nile Delta station.

Egypt's worst train disaster, in February 2002, killed 363 people, many of them headed home to the country's south for the Islamic calendar's most important holiday.

The Canadian Press
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