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Dozens hurt after train ploughs into buffers at Barcelona station

By Staff Reporter

Fifty-six people were injured when a Spanish commuter train crashed into the buffers at a station in north-eastern Barcelona.

A total of 53 people were taken to hospital after yesterday's incident at Franca station, in which passengers were thrown to the floor of the train.

Regional health authorities said one man was seriously injured by a blow to the chest, but he is now recovering at Barcelona's Clinic Hospital.

The accident, which happened at 7.15am local time (6.15am BST), involved a train which set off from the coastal town of Sant Vicenc de Calders, south of Barcelona.

"When the train arrived at Franca station it applied the brakes, but at the same time it made a noisy crash," said passenger Said Saharaui.

"The passengers were thrown to the floor. Even though the train did brake, it wasn't until the crash that it reached a full stop."

The crash smashed the nose of the train and left it hanging off on one side. More damage occurred between the train's first and second cars.

The accident came as Renfe rail workers staged a one-day strike. The affected train was running as part of minimum services ordered by the public works ministry.

Public works minister Inigo de la Serna, who visited the scene, said the train had passed its most recent inspection on July 18.

He said officials are investigating data and equipment from the driver's cabin to try to understand the cause of the accident.

He said the 31-year-old driver, who was among 19 people slightly injured, had seven years of service on commuter trains.

Many people in Spain were beginning their summer holidays yesterday, with Barcelona and surrounding towns traditionally popular destinations.

Franca is Barcelona's second main train station after Sants, which handles the bullet train and most inter-city services.

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