Three dead in train derailment near Milan

Three dead in train derailment near Milan

A commuter train has derailed near Italy's financial capital Milan, killing at least three people and seriously injuring 13, the government said.

Several carriages of a regional train operated by Trenord derailed early in the morning at a switch track near the Pioltello Limito station, less than 20km outside Milan station, Italian state-owned rail company Ferrovie dello Stato said.

It did not give further details.

"There currently are three dead, five severely injured and eight injured in 'code yellow', all of which in hospital," the body representing the Interior Ministry in Milan said.

Passengers reported feeling the car shake for a few minutes before hearing a big bang, and then feeling the car crush in on them.

The train was heading from Cremona, in eastern Lombardy, into Milan's Garibaldi station and came off the rails at a switch track, suggesting that at least played a role in the derailment, the local prefect said.

The head of Milan police said an investigation has been opened, with railway police interrogating the train driver and first evidence pointing at either a collapse of the tracks or a problem with a track switch.

A spokesperson for Trenord said the train was travelling at normal speed as it was approaching the station.

The latest in a number of rail incidents

Trenord is the regional train company serving the Lombardy region. It is notorious among passengers for dirty, packed cars and frequent delays.

On social media Thursday, it was ridiculed for tweets blaming delays into Milan on a "technical inconvenience" involving a train.

It was the latest in a number of incidents involving Italy's aging rail system.

In 2016, 23 people were killed when two trains collided on a single track in an olive grove in Puglia, south eastern Italy.

In 2009, 32 people were killed when a freight train carrying liquefied petroleum gas derailed and exploded in Viareggio, in central Italy's Tuscany region.

ABC/Wires