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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

At least 15 people killed in Egyptian train crash

Two passenger carriages separated from one train and collided with a cargo train

world Updated: Feb 28, 2018 20:17 IST
Agencies, Cairo

Two trains collided on Wednesday north of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, killing at least 15 people, authorities said, the latest deadly accident involving the country’s underfunded and mismanaged railways.

Another 40 people were injured in the accident, which took place in the Beheira province in the Nile delta, according to the country’s state MENA news agency.

The collision involved a cargo train and a passenger train heading to Cairo, the Health Ministry said. The casualty number was likely to increase, it added.

Egypt’s railway system has a poor safety record, mostly blamed on decades of badly maintained equipment and poor management.

President Abdel-Fatah el-Sissi has recently spoken about the need to modernize the country’s railway system to avoid deadly accidents and offer a better service to passengers.

In televised comments last year, he said 180 billion Egyptian pounds (about $10 billion) were needed to overhaul the network. The price of train tickets must be hiked, he added.

Deadly accidents have claimed hundreds of lives over the years. Figures recently released by the state’s statistics agency show that 1,249 train accidents took place last year, the highest since 2009 when the number reached 1,577.

In August, two passenger trains collided just outside Egypt’s Mediterranean port city of Alexandria, killing 43 people, the country’s deadliest rail accident in more than a decade. In 2016, at least 51 people were killed when two commuter trains collided near Cairo.

In 2002, a massive fire engulfed a train filled with local holiday travelers. The train sped for miles, with flames engulfing one carriage after another, killing more than 370 people.

And in November 2012, a speeding train crashed into a bus carrying children to their kindergarten in the country’s south, killing more than 50, mostly children between the ages of four and six. Two months later, at least 19 people died in a train derailment south of Cairo.

First Published: Feb 28, 2018 18:31 IST