A collision between a passenger train with 146 people on board and an empty goods train in the east of the Netherlands halted rail transport on an important freight route to Germany. Police said the Germany-bound ICE international passenger train operated by Deutsche Bahn, and an empty goods train collided in the Dutch town of Zevenaar, but that no one was reported injured in the accident.

A spokesman for Dutch rail network authority ProRail said the accident halted rail traffic on the Betuwe freight route, which runs between Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Germany.

The trains, travelling in opposite directions on adjacent lines, struck each other at about midday, derailing several carriages, police said.

Keyrail, which operates the Betuwe route, said the line would be closed until at least 2100 GMT, forcing the diversion of freight trains to the mixed passenger-freight network.

Keyrail spokeswoman Mayke Modderman said the accident delayed six freight trains carrying shipping containers from Rotterdam port: three of those have been recalled to Zwijndrecht, near Rotterdam, where they will join the mixed network.

Keyrail said in August that 57 percent of the freight trains travelling between Germany and the Netherlands use the Betuwe line, which opened in the first quarter of 2008. (Reuters)