Rescue workers and people are seen after a fire at the main train station in Cairo, Egypt [Amr Abdallah Dalsh-Reuters]

At least 20 people have been killed and 40 injured when a major fire erupted at the main train station in Cairo, an Egyptian medical official says.

Mohammed Said, the head of the Cairo Railroad hospital, says the death toll is expected to rise further following the blaze on Wednesday.

Photographs on social media showed clouds of black smoke billowing from the building in central Cairo.

The fire is said to have been triggered by an explosion of a fuel tank on a speeding train that was heading into the Ramses station in downtown Cairo.

A witness said there was a blast when the train rammed into a steel barrier at Ramses station.

“I was standing on the platform and I saw the train speed into the barrier,” eyewitness Mina Ghaly told Reuters.

“Everyone started running but a lot of people died after the locomotive exploded.

“I saw at least nine corpses lying on the ground, charred.”

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