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High speed commuter trains collide in Connecticut Friday

Train crash.  Reuters photo
Train crash. Reuters photo

FAIRFIELD, CT (Reuters) - Nearly 50 people were injured on Friday when two commuter trains collided during evening rush hour near the Connecticut town of Fairfield, shutting down Amtrak service between New York and Boston indefinitely, police and transit officials said.

Authorities said there were no reports of fatalities in the accident that occurred shortly after 6 p.m. EDT (2200 GMT).

Anita Shrum, a spokeswoman for Bridgeport Hospital, said one person was seriously injured but the other 21 people it had received could be described as "walking wounded" with a variety of injuries. "They are doing OK, they are very stable," Shrum said.

Dianne Auger, a spokeswoman for St. Vincent's Medical Center in Bridgeport, said one of the 27 people taken there was in serious condition with head and neck injuries. Commuter trains on this busy commuter line to New York typically carry up to 300 passengers.

The number of injured could rise because hospital officials were told to prepare to receive up to 180 patients total.

The accident occurred when an eastbound train on the Metro-North commuter rial line derailed and collided with a train headed in the opposite direction near the suburban town of Fairfield, said spokesman Aaron Donovan of the Metropolitan Transit Authority, which runs the railroad.

Amtrak officials said in a statement that it suspended service indefinitely on the heavily traveled Northeast Corridor between Boston and New York.

The cause of the derailment was not immediately known. Fairfield is about 50 miles north of New York City.

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