25 killed in train collision

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A train collision near the Egyptian city of Alexandria has left 28 dead and 80 injured Friday morning, the Associated Press reports.

Trains collided head-on in the district of Khorshid, southeast of Alexandria. The first train headed northbound from the country’s capital of Cairo, while the other thundered south from the city of Port Said, located at the northern tip of the Suez Canal.

Dr. Mohamed Abu Homs, head of the ambulance services in Alexandria’s western sector, said he fears the death toll will grow higher. He currently has no knowledge of what caused the calamity.

Egypt’s railway system is notorious for a poor safety record. Officials attribute the railway’s issues to a lack of maintenance and poor management. As crowds gathered at the site of the crash to offer help to the victims, State TV broadcast images of mangled coaches and severed train tracks.

The Egyptian National Railway has been debating how to best combat issues of poor management and maintenance since 2002, when a cooking gas cylinder exploded in the fifth carriage of one of its trains, creating a fire which engulfed seven third-class carriages, almost reducing them to cinders. It was revealed that the incident should have been avoided.

The ENR has since privatized aspects of its train service in an attempt to better distribute the burden, and continue to examine further privatization.

It is vastly important that they do fix it, as ENR is the backbone of passenger transportation in Egypt, with 800 million passenger miles annually. The network connects the densely populated Nile delta area with Cairo and Alexandria.

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