Trains collide north of Egyptian capital, 15 killed

Egypt's deadliest railway accident dates back to 2002, when 373 people died

epa06570876 People inspect the wreckage of a passenger train that collided with a freight train in the village of Kom Hamada in the northern province of Beheira, Egypt, 28 February 2018. Reports state at least 15 people died and 40 injured in the accident that occurred when two passenger carriages disconnected from the rest of the train and collided with a freight train, the cause of which is still unknown.  EPA/STR
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Two trains collided on Wednesday north of the Egyptian capital, Cairo, killing at least 15 people, authorities said. This is 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 Sisi has recently spoken about the need to modernise 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 Dhs36.7 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.


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