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5 Killed in Egyptian Train Collision

September 5, 2006

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ A passenger train collided with a cargo train north of Cairo Monday, killing 5 people and injuring 30 others, police officials said, two weeks after a major train crash in the same area killed 58 people.

The collision occurred Monday evening near Shebin al-Qanater, north of the capital, the officials said. They said the driver was one of those killed, and most of the injured were passengers. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press.

The governor of Qalyoubiya province, Adly Hussein, said investigators are trying to determine the cause of the collision. ``It is early to decide now,″ he told the official television. But a security official said the clash was caused by a faulty traffic and control system at the nearest station.

On Aug. 21, a passenger train rammed into the back of another train at a station in Qalyoub in the same province as Shebin al-Qanater, killing 58 people.

That crash prompted a wave of outrage among Egyptians over the poor state of transportation infrastructure. The transportation minister, Mohammed Mansour, acknowledged the rail system was in need of a major overhaul and was severely underfunded.

Later, the government approved an allocation of $860 million to develop the rail infrastructure, plus another $600 million in loans to the sector.

Egypt has poor safety record on its railways and there are several fatal accident each year, usually blamed on poorly maintained equipment.

The worst recent disaster took place in February 2002 when a train heading to southern Egypt caught fire, killing 363 people.