Egyptian family of four killed by train as they crossed tracks

They were returning home from a wedding and used an illegal crossing

A train station in Cairo. A train bound for the Egyptian capital hit and killed four members of the same family on Wednesday. AFP
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Four people, including a 3-year-old boy, were killed by a train as they were crossing the tracks in southern Egypt on Wednesday morning, police said.

The four members of the same family were returning home from a wedding near the town of Tahta in Sohag province.

They were using an illegal crossing when they were hit by the train travelling to Cairo from the southern city of Aswan.

The 3-year-old boy, a 70-year-old woman, her 39-year-old son and 42-year-old son-in-law were killed.

It was not known whether the four were with other family members at the time of the incident.

Level crossings are the scene of thousands of train accidents in Egypt every year. Accidents are also caused by the failure to heed signals, or a lack of communication between control room operators and train drivers.

Railway passengers in Egypt have long endured delays, overcrowding and technical glitches. Thousands of hawkers roam the trains and stations, selling food, beverages and other items, and fare-dodging is common.

President Abdel Fattah El Sisi’s government has pledged to improve the train service, with plans to spend 225 billion Egyptian pounds ($11.7bn) on rehabilitating the network by 2024.

Transport Minister Kamel El Wazir, a retired army general appointed in 2019, has previously said he may invite foreign companies to run the railways if negligence and apathy persist among the service’s 45,000 employees.

He made the announcement in June last year, after two train accidents on consecutive days killed two and injured more than 40.

Those accidents in Cairo and Alexandria followed a series of train disasters in March and April last year that killed at least 43 and injured hundreds.

Updated: October 12, 2022, 9:48 AM