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Last Updated: Monday, 21 August 2006, 14:57 GMT 15:57 UK
Egypt's history of train disasters
The collision between two passenger trains in Egypt is the country's worst rail accident for four years.

One train ploughed into the rear of another at Qalyoub station 20km (12 miles) north of Cairo.

A rescue walks alongside burned out carriages - Egypt's worst train disaster in 2002
The 2002 Egypt rail disaster was one of the worst in the world

Egypt has a poor safety record on its railways and there are several fatal accidents each year.

By far the worst recent disaster happened in 2002, when a train travelling south from Cairo was consumed by a fire, killing some 373 people.

Officials said a gas stove used by a passenger on board the packed train started a fire which quickly swept through the carriages. Passengers were unable to escape because there were bars on the windows.

The disaster, which stunned the country, prompted the resignation of the transport minister and the head of the railways.

Egypt has a comprehensive rail network. There is a high standard rail service available to tourists and Egyptians who can afford it.

However, most Egyptian rail passengers travel in packed compartments on old, slow trains.

Passengers on long-haul journeys often carry large amounts of baggage, take small animals onto the trains and prepare their own meals, sometimes with portable gas cookers.

These are some of the worst train crashes in Egypt over the past 15 years, many of them involving collisions:

November 1999: A train travelling between Cairo and Alexandria hit a truck and derailed, killing 10 and injuring seven.

April 1999: At least 10 people died and nearly 50 were injured in northern Egypt after a head-on collision between trains.

October 1998: About 50 people were killed and more than 80 injured in a derailment just south of Alexandria. The train failed to stop at buffers and ran into a busy market square. Reports suggested that passengers travelling on the roof of the train may have tampered with an air pipe, disabling the brakes.

February 1997: At least 11 people died after a collision caused by human error and a signalling failure north of Aswan.

February 1996: A train hit a lorry on level crossing 90km north of Cairo, killing 11 people.

December 1995: A train rammed into the back of another in thick fog, killing 75 people. The driver was blamed after an inquiry found that the train was travelling well above the speed limit.

May 1995: Nine people died after a train hit a barrier just north of Cairo and derailed.

April 1995: A train and a bus collided on a level crossing in the Nile Delta, killing 49.

December 1993: At least 12 people died and 60 were injured when two trains collided head-on about 90km north of Cairo.

February 1992: A head-on train collision just outside Cairo killed 43 people.

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In Pictures: Egypt train collision
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Stove blamed for Egypt train inferno
20 Feb 02 |  Middle East
Country profile: Egypt
27 Jun 06 |  Country profiles

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