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Train Crash in Brussels Halts Service

February 15, 2010 By: Jena Tesse Fox

Eurostar trains in Brussels have been canceled after a deadly head-on collision on Monday that killed at least 18 people.

Railway officials told the BBC that the trains collided during the morning rush hour at Halle, southwest of Brussels. One reportedly missed a stop signal. Rail services to south-western Belgium, Paris and London were canceled.

The death toll has not been confirmed, but as of Tuesday morning the estimate is between 18 and 25.  There were reports of passengers still trapped in the wreckage hours after the crash, which occured at around 8:30 a.m. local time. A rail official reportedly told the AFP news agency that the two trains were reportedly carrying a total of about 250 to 300 people.

The governor of Flemish Brabant province, Lodewijk De Witte, told the BBC that one of the trains seemed to have missed a stop signal. Belgium's track operator Infrabel said that an investigation into the accident was underway, and it was difficult to speculate on the cause at this stage.

Emergency workers said there was considerable damage to the overhead power lines at the station in Buizingen, the district of Halle where the trains crashed.

Infrabel said one train had been going from Leuven to Braine-le-Comte while the second train had been travelling from Quievrain to Liege.

The accident led to the cancelation of services between Brussels and Tournai or Mons, and Eurostar has said that its Brussels trains, including those to and from the UK, were canceled until further notice. Busses have reportedly been set up instead. Other high-speed trains between Paris and Brussels have also been canceled.


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