At least 19 people were killed and 117 injured when a troop train crashed early Tuesday in Egypt, the health ministry said.

One carriage derailed and hit a freight train, said Hussein Zakareya, chief of Egypt’s Railway Authority.

The train derailed in Badrashein, 30 kilometres south of Cairo just after midnight. The train was returning to the capital from the southern Assiut province with more than 1,300 conscripts on board.

The accident occurred two weeks after President Mohamed Morsy named a new transportation minister, a move aimed at improving railway safety.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s ruling Freedom and Justice Party said that “condolences to the families of the victims would not be enough.” “Allocating enough resources for developing railways and revising the distribution of the coming budget to save lives of people would be the priority,” the party’s deputy chairman, Essam al-Erian, said.

Prime Minister Hisham Qandil has visited the accident site.

Egypt’s overall poor rail safety record and poorly maintained equipment have led to numerous fatal accidents.

Forty-nine children on their way to school were killed in November when a speeding train crashed into their school bus.

The worst rail disaster was in February 2002 when a train heading to southern Egypt caught fire, killing more than 360 people.

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