Sunday, 25 October 2009

Egyptian train crashes

A collision between two passenger trains in Egypt has killed at least twenty people. The accident happened when one train stopped after hitting a water buffalo about 30 miles south of Cairo, and a second ploughed into the back of it.

Egyptian railways have suffered a number of serious accidents over the last few years. Last year, more than 35 people died when a train collided with a number of vehicles on a level crossing about 270 miles north-west of Cairo. A truck had failed to stop and pushed the other vehicles onto the crossing, while in 2006, the death toll was at least 58, when a commuter train collided with another that had stopped just outside a station at Qalyoub, 12 miles from the capital.

Egypt’s worst rail accident ever, though, happened in February 2002, when fire broke out aboard a service from Cairo to Luxor about 40 miles into its journey. Unaware of what had happened, the driver sped on, fanning the flames as he went.

Witnesses saw people throwing themselves from the carriages, and soon the tracks were lined with dead and injured. An opposition newspaper, complaining of poor safety standards, said the government should find out who was responsible and “hang them in public squares”. For the story, see A Disastrous History of the World.

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