Minsk - A pair of passenger trains struck a herd of cattle in the former Soviet republic of Belarus, killing an estimated 50 cows, the Interfax news agency reported Friday.
No people were injured in the accident, which took place along a stretch of double railway in Belarus' central Vitebsk province.
More than 230 dairy cows were crossing the railroad right-of-way in a rural district when a westbound Moscow-Warsaw express train drove up on the herd, at roughly the same time as an eastbound train en route to Moscow from Grodno reached the area.
The two trains' approach from opposite directions reportedly panicked the herd, with dozens of animals failing to clear the tracks before being hit.
Forklifts from a nearby farm were used to remove the carcasses from the track, allowing rail traffic to proceed normally after delays of more than three hours, said Marina Fando, a spokeswoman for the Belarus Ministry of Emergency Situations.
A wild boar straying onto tracks in Belarus' remote Gomel province was also struck by a train in a separate incident, killing the boar and slightly damaging a diesel locomotive, she said.
Belarus is heavily forested and contains substantial swamps. Domestic and wild animals are found near rail lines there more often than is common in Europe.
Beavers living in marshlands have also in the past been a headache for the Belarusian national railroad company, with the animals' dams and digging undermining railroad embankments.