Cameroon train derailment
A Camrail inter-city train travelling from Yaounde to Douala derailed on Friday.Reuters

At least 55 people were killed and more than 500 people injured after a passenger train derailed while travelling between Cameroon's two largest cities on Friday.

The accident occurred at around 11 am local time (1000 GMT), when the packed Camrail inter-city train was heading from the capital Yaounde to the port city of Douala. 

"Rescue workers arrived and they are pulling bodies from the wagon. I've already counted around 40 bodies they've removed," a passenger on the train, Rachelle Paden, was quoted as saying by Reuters.

According to reports, before the departure of the train, a railway employee said that additional wagons had been added to the train to accommodate the excess number of passengers travelling. The cause of the derailment, however, is not clear.

A section of the main highway between Yaounde and Daouala had collapsed, which caused a lot of people to opt for trains to reach to the port city.

"There are the bodies of women, children. There are many," an employee of Camrail at the accident site said.

People took to social media to post pictures of the accident, and several overturned wagons could be seen in the images posted online.

Camrail, operated by France's Bollore, said that it has sent several rescue teams to the site and the injured passengers are being rushed to the hospital. The firm, through its Facebook page, expressed grief to the families of the victims in the accident.

A spokesperson for Bollore confirmed that a train accident occurred en route to Douala. However, the firm did not provide any further information.

Derailments are relatively common in Central and West Africa, where trains are known to be poorly maintained.