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20 injured as Stockholm trains collide

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13:25 CEST+02:00
Two suburban trains crashed head-on at Märsta station, north of Stockholm, on Saturday night. Over 20 people were taken to hospital following the accident.

The two trains crashed at 12.35am, just as one train was leaving the platform. Another train arrived from the opposite direction on the same track. Both trains were travelling slowly but there was a significant impact.

"It looks like there was a real smash. There was major damage to the front carriages," said Anders Bölander, team leader at Sigtuna emergency services.

There was confusion at the accident scene when the emergency services arrived. Many passengers were suffering from minor injuries.

"We investigated whether anyone was badly injured or whether anyone was stuck on the trains. It was a bit odd at first, since passengers who were in shock had walked away from the scene. Then more and more who had been on the train came back," said Bölander to TT.

More than 20 people were taken to hospital. None had life-threatening injuries and the majority were able to leave hospital on Saturday morning. Karolinska hospital in Solna handled 16 people, of which only one was kept in for observation. The injured person is said to be in a stable condition.

Seven people were taken to Danderyd hospital, where one person was treated for neck injuries.

According to Banverket, which manages the line, a train management office in Stockholm determines which train uses which line.

"They have contact with the drivers - everything happens by mutual understanding," said Marja Bernström at Banverket's press office.

It is still unclear how the trains ended up on the same line.

"But we'll listen to the taped logs, the conversations between the drivers and train management office to work out what happened," said Bernström.

Stockholmståg, which runs the commuter trains on behalf of the Stockholm public transport organisation SL, was at the scene of the accident overnight.

"It's extremely uncommon for two trains to crash like this. An hour after the accident we began putting the pieces together," said the head of communications at Stockholmståg, Mikael Lindskog.

"We are interviewing the people involved to get an idea of what happened. The staff are shocked by the incident and we apologise for what happened and feel for those who are injured."

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