ONE person has died and 22 others were hurt after two passenger trains collided in central Austria.

One train struck the side of the other near the station in Niklasdorf, a town 40 miles north of Graz, police spokesman Leo Josefus said.

Photographs of the accident scene showed the side of a cross-border EuroCity train torn away, with a regional Austrian train next to it.

Several train carriages were derailed and emergency workers were forced to climb into the wreckage through the huge gaps left in the side of the carriages.

The EuroCity train was bound for Saarbruecken, Germany.

Authorities said a woman on the EuroCity train was killed and three children were among those injured.

Red Cross spokesman Lucas Kundigraber said 17 people were taken to local hospitals to be treated after sustaining minor injuries.

He added that 19 ambulances and two emergency doctors were sent to the scene.

The cause of Monday's crash, which happened at about 12.25pm local time (11.25pm GMT), is not yet known but investigations are under way.

The Austrian Federal Railways said on its website: “Due to the severity of the train accident, a rail replacement service has been immediately established.”

They added: “The route between Bruck/Mur and Leoben is suspended until further notice.”