A passenger train collided with a freight train in the town of Meerbusch possibly hurting 50 people. PIX: Frank Mohr/Freiwillige Feuerwehr Meerbusch/dpa

Up to 50 people may have been injured after a passenger train reportedly collided with a cargo train near the western German city of Neuss on Tuesday, police said.

Rescue operations were going slowly because overhead power lines had been torn down and were hanging dangerously, added the police spokesman.

In a tweet, the Meerbusch fire department said rescuing people from the train was the main priority.

It estimated that there were 150 people on board at the time of the crash. Meerbusch is in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.

Meerbusch fire department said that its staff were “in contact with the people on the train” and that full access to the passengers “should be possible”.

The fire department added that access had been hindered by a broken electrical cable “which poses a risk of electric shock to persons outside the train”.

The accident occurred at about 19:30 local time (18:30 GMT), near the community of Meerbusch-Osterath, according to a statement from Germany’s state-owned railway group Deutsche Bahn.

It also said that a regional express train crashed into a non-moving cargo train. A spokeswoman said it was not clear why the cargo train was on the tracks and not moving. -dpa / BBC

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