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One dead, 33 injured in Belgian train crash

One man has died and 33 people have been injured after a train carrying highly toxic chemicals derailed in Ghent, Belgium, according to Belgian news site Nieuwsblad.

The train was carrying highly toxic chemicals from the Netherlands to the seaport in Ghent, Belgium. Credit: Reuters

Around 500 locals in the Wetteren area were forced to evacuate their homes after six of the train's 13 cars derailed on Friday, unleashing toxic fumes from the highly flammable liquid chemicals it was transporting from the Netherlands to Ghent's seaport.

Initial reports suggested there were two fatalities but authorities later revised this figure.

It is believed the victims were not near the train when the crash occurred and Belgium's interior minister Joelle Milquet blamed the toxic fumes from chemicals including cyanide.

One person died and 33 more were injured after the train derailed in Ghent, Belgium. Credit: Reuters

"In the future, the big companies are going to put only one pilot in the cockpit to save money, and that is what did happen here. They put only one person with that kind of chemicals behind it. So it may be a few seconds or whatever and he has made that mess," said local resident Camerlenck Bernate.

The injured people are receiving hospital treatment.

Rail franchise bid suffered from 'lack of leadership'

The chair of the Public Accounts Committee, Margaret Hodge MP, has strongly criticised the Department for Transport's handling of the West Coast Main Line competition.

She said that "no single person" had been in charge of the bidding process, and that for a period of three months "there was no single person in charge at all".

The franchising process was littered with basic errors. The department yet again failed to learn from previous disasters, like the Metronet contract. It failed to heed advice from its lawyers. It failed to respond appropriately to early warning signs that things were going wrong.

Senior management did not have proper oversight of the project. Cuts in staffing and in consultancy budgets contributed to a lack of key skills.

The project suffered from a lack of leadership.

– margaret hodge, chair, public accounts committee

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'Basic errors' in West Coast Main Line bidding process

MPs have called for the Department for Transport to "get its house in order" after uncovering "basic errors" in the way it run the West Coast franchise competition.

The department was forced to reverse its decision to award the £5 billion franchise to FirstGroup last October after a legal challenge from rival bidder Virgin Group.

The latest report by the Public Accounts Committee finds that managers had no oversight in the bidding process and failed to respond to early warning signs that things were going wrong.

Committee chair Margaret Hodge said the competition would cost the taxpayer £50 million "at the very least".

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London Bridge Station - three taken to hospital

A London Ambulance Service spokesman said:

"We were called at 8.39am today to reports of a patient taken unwell at London Bridge station.

"We sent two ambulance crews, a single responder in a car, our hazardous area response team and a duty manager.

"Our staff have assessed four patients at the scene who were taken unwell. Three of the patients have been taken to hospital."

Emergency vehicles seen at London Bridge station

Twitter user Helen True shared this photograph of emergency services attending London Bridge station where four people were taken ill.

Helen True took this picture from the offices of the Mental Health Foundation. Credit: mentalhealth.org.uk

Network Rail and TfL dismissed reports of a gas leak and said that overground and underground train services were running as normal.

Fire Brigade: Called to London Bridge as 'precaution'

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Fire brigade 'responded to police call' at London Bridge

London Fire Brigade have said they were called by the Met Police to London Bridge after at least three people were taken ill at the train station this morning: