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Injuries reported in first ever derailment of high-speed French TGV train

The train, carrying 300 passengers, was travelling from Colmar in eastern France to the capital Paris at 170mph.

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The high-speed TGV train is pictured after it has derailed Jean-Francois Badias (AP)

The high-speed TGV train is pictured after it has derailed Jean-Francois Badias (AP)

The high-speed TGV train is pictured after it has derailed Jean-Francois Badias (AP)

One of France’s vaunted high-speed trains derailed on Thursday morning on a trip to Paris, injuring 21 people including the driver, officials said.

The driver, who was seriously injured, managed to slam on the emergency brakes and bring the train to a halt.

It was the first derailment of a TGV train in nearly 40 years of commercial service.

Regional authorities said 20 other people also suffered injuries, some of them slight.

France Train Derails
Firemen near the high-speed TGV train (Bas-Rhin Prefecture/AP)

Train operator SNCF said they included the train conductor, who suffered a back injury.

The train, carrying 300 passengers, was travelling from Colmar in eastern France to the capital and was racing along at 270kph (170mph) when it jumped the tracks.

The derailment opened a gash on the pointed nose of the sleek train, which stayed upright.

Its side was scratched and some windows were cracked.

France Train Derails
Workers of the national railway company SNCF stand near the high-speed TGV train that derailed on a trip to Paris (Jean-Francois Badias/AP)

The SNCF said it was the first time that a commercially-operated TGV train has derailed since the service was inaugurated in 1981, between Paris and the southern city of Lyon.

TGV stands for Train A Grande Vitesse, or high-speed train.

The seriously injured train driver was evacuated by helicopter.

Passengers told French media they felt a bang before the train slowed and stopped.

An investigation will determine whether the train struck an earth bank that collapsed close to the track.

PA