Two killed as Chilean train on test run collides with cargo train

By Natalia Siniawski

SANTIAGO (Reuters) -Two people were killed and nine injured on Thursday when a passenger train in a test run by Chile's state railway company (EFE) collided with a cargo train operated by private rail firm Fepasa, EFE said.

In the San Bernardo area on the outskirts of the capital shortly after midnight, the EFE train collided with the northbound Fepasa train carrying about 1,346 metric tons of copper.

The injured, including four Chinese nationals, were part of the test train crew and were receiving medical treatment. Local prosecutor Pedro Aravena told local media the injured were in serious but not life-threatening condition.

The two people killed were operators of the Fepasa cargo train, EFE said in a statement.

The local prosecutor's office detained two EFE officials as part of a probe into the accident.

Initial findings indicated that the passenger train was conducting speed maneuvers when it collided with the Fepasa train, Aravena said at a news conference.

The train undergoing the test run was not informed of another cargo train approaching from the south, he noted.

The EFE passenger train's black box has not been retrieved, the Transport Ministry told Reuters, adding its GPS system was operational at the time of the accident.

Fepasa's General Manager David Fernandez told local media that despite the accident, train travel remains statistically safe.

"When there is a train accident it is very shocking as you can see. But the rail system clearly still offers much more security than highways," he said.

(Reporting by Benjamín Mejías Valencia and Natalia Siniawski in Gdansk and Natalia Ramos in Santiago, writing by Stéphanie Hamel; Editing by Miral Fahmy, Christina Fincher, Frances Kerry and Richard Chang)