AN empty Trenitalia passenger train believed to be travelling at 160km/h collided with a group of seven track maintenance workers on the Turin - Milan conventional main line, killing five of the workers.

The incident happened at 23.50 on August 30 near Brandizzo east of Turin. The train which hit the workers was travelling at line speed from Alessandria to Turin.

“The dynamics of what happened are being examined by the competent authorities and the Italian Railway Network (RFI),” RFI said in a statement. “RFI expresses deep sorrow at what happened and extends its condolences to the families of the deceased workers.”

As a result, the main line between Turin Settimo and Chivasso is currently closed to allow accident investigation teams to try to determine the cause of the accident. In the meantime, regional train services running east from Turin are being replaced by a bus service between Turin Porta Nuova and Chivasso and between Chivasso - Brandizzo and Settimo. Intercity trains between Turin and Milan are subject to cancellation, curtailment, and replacement with buses.