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14 charged over Egypt train crash

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CAIRO, Egypt -- Egypt's public prosecutor has charged 14 employees of the state's railway authority with negligence which led to the deaths of 56 people in a rail crash last month.

A report into the crash on August 21 blamed human, technical and administrative failures, including a breakdown in the railway's signalling mechanism.

The prosecutor's office said the officials failed to repair technical equipment that control train signals, according to The Associated Press. No trial date was set for the officials Sunday.

The crash happened when two passenger trains collided and burst into flames north of Cairo, in the town of Qalyoub, about 12 miles north of the capital, during the morning commute.

Four cars derailed and overturned, forcing officials to close the lines from the Nile Delta cities of Benha and Mansoura, where the trains originated.

The accident happened when the train from Mansoura failed to stop at a signal outside the Qalyoub train station. The officials said the train was going at least 50 mph.

The driver of the Mansoura train was killed and the locomotive overturned, police said.

Egypt has a history of serious train accidents, which are usually blamed on poorly maintained equipment. Many of those incidents have occurred in the Nile Delta, north of the capital.

In February 20 people were injured when two trains collided at a Nile Delta station. Following a long-standing government policy, the Egyptian government announced compensation for the families.

Families of each victim who died in the crash will receivee 5,000 Egyptian pounds (around $870). The injured will receive 1,000 Egyptian pounds.

Egypt's worst train disaster in February 2002 killed 363 people, many of them headed home to the country's south for the Islamic calendar's most important holiday.

Copyright 2006 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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