Last updated: 27 June, 2012

Saudi passenger train derails, leaving 34 hurt

At least 34 people were injured Wednesday, two of them in critical condition, when a Saudi passenger train derailed east of the capital, a railway official and a medical source said.

The accident occurred east of Riyadh as the train was heading to the capital from the eastern city of Dammam, they said.

Hamad Abdel Qader, deputy chief of operations at the Saudi Railways Organisation, told AFP that the train derailed “100 kilometres (62 miles) east of Riyadh.”

A company statement put the location of the accident at 70 kilometres (43 miles) away from Riyadh — in almost the same location where another passenger train derailed two years ago.

The train was carrying 332 passengers and an investigation is underway to determine the cause of the accident.

There were “no deaths in the accident … but several” people were wounded, including one man who was evacuated to Riyadh for medical treatment, said Abdel Qader.

In all 34 passengers were wounded, two of them in critical condition, according to Saad bin Misfer al-Qahtani, a Riyadh health official quoted by the state-run SPA news agency.

The train was travelling along Saudi Arabia’s only passenger rail link, some 400 kilometres (250 miles) long, that connects Riyadh and Dammam, a coastal city in the vast desert kingdom’s oil-rich Eastern province.

Almost two years ago to the day — on June 26, 2010 — a passenger train also derailed 70 kilometres east of Riyadh but only its driver and his assistant were wounded.