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Commuter trains collide, dozens hurt

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Emergency personnel work at the scene of a collision between two commuter trains on Friday.

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Emergency personnel work at the scene of a collision between two commuter trains on Friday.

FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- Two commuter trains serving New York City collided in Connecticut during Friday's evening rush hour, sending 60 people to the hospital, including five with critical injuries, Gov. Dannel Malloy said.

The Metro-North Railroad, a commuter line serving the northern suburbs, referred in a news release to a "major derailment" near Fairfield. It said emergency workers were at the scene of the accident, which came shortly after 6 p.m.

"We're most concerned about the injured and ultimately reopening the system," Malloy said from the scene about three hours after the crash. He said there was no reason to believe it was anything other than an accident.

Malloy said most people were not seriously hurt. He said there was extensive damage to the train cars and the track, and it could take until Monday for normal service to be restored.

He said the area where the accident happened was down to two tracks because of repair work and the accident will have a "big impact on the Northeast Corridor."

Bill Kaempffer, a spokesman for Bridgeport public safety, told The Associated Press about 250 people were on board the two trains.

Photos taken at the scene showed a train car askew on the rails, with its end smashed up and brushing against another train. Amtrak suspended service indefinitely between New York and Boston.

"At this stage, we don't know if this is a mechanical failure, an accident or something deliberate," Fairfield police spokesman Lt. James Perez told the Connecticut Post.

The railroad said a train that left New York City's Grand Central station en route to New Haven derailed. A westbound train on an adjacent track then struck the derailed train. Some cars on the second train also derailed as a result of the collision.

Bridgeport Police Chief Joseph Gaudett said everybody who needed treatment had been attended to, and authorities were beginning to turn their attention to investigating the cause.

"Everybody seemed pretty calm," he said.

"Everybody was thankful they didn't get seriously hurt. They were anxious to get home to their families."

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority operates the Metro-North Railroad, the second-largest commuter railroad in the nation.

The Metro-North main lines run northward from New York City's Grand Central Terminal into suburban New York and Connecticut.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 18, 2013 A31

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