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Poland says trains safe for Euro 2012 despite crash

Poland's government has promised football fans that its rail travel is safe, despite the weekend train crash that killed 16 people.

The assurances come months before millions of fans will enter the country for the Euro 2012 tournament -- many of whom will criss-cross the nation by train.

The weekend crash, which was the country's deadliest train accident in more than two decades, raised new questions about the safety of a state-run rail network, which has undergone modernisation in recent years.

The trains collided head-on in a shower of sparks and mangled metal, killing 16 people and injuring dozens more near the southern town of Szczekociny, just north of Krakow. Both trains inexplicably ended up running on the same track.

Some routes today are notorious for being slower than they were even before World War 2 -- and Poland has been pushing to change this even as it builds skyscrapers, motorways and stadiums. Several of the projects have been accelerated by the coming Euro 2012 Championship, which starts in June.

Transport minister Slawomir Nowak insisted yesterday that train travel was safe and that the government made safety a priority as it improved the system.

"I really believe that the train system -- not only in Poland but all of Europe -- is still very safe," Mr Nowak said.

He said those who planned to use the trains this summer during Euro 2012 should not worry.

Irish Independent