More than 40 injured in train collision in Belgium

BRUSSELS - More than 40 people were injured Thursday, two of them seriously, when a passenger train travelling in the wrong direction struck a freight train in central Belgium, railway officials said.

Forty-two of the 64 passengers were hurt when the trains collided in Hermalle-sous-Huy, but by late Thursday only two of them remained in hospital for treatment, rail operator Infrabel said in a statement.

The accident happened in the early morning as the freight train was being parked. It was hit by the passenger train, which for unexplained reasons was heading towards the city of Liege on the wrong line, a spokeswoman said.

"The investigation that has been opened should be able to determine the cause," said the spokeswoman, Fanny Charpentier.

Fire services said that a number of passengers were in shock after the accident, and that they believe it had no connection to a heavy storm that struck the area overnight.

Rail traffic was expected to be affected in the area until Friday, and buses have been put into service to help overcome the problem, Infrabel said.

pm/loc/lt/rlp

07/03/2008 16:19 GMT

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