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An Amtrak passenger train rammed into the rear of a local commuter train stopped in Boston's Back Bay Station today, injuring at least 168 people, some seriously, officials said.

Authorities said the commuter train, from suburbs southwest of Boston, was smashed into by the Amtrak Night Owl from Washington.

The impact "threw the trains in the air" and spilled 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel, which caught fire in the downtown underground station, said acting city Fire Commissioner John Harrison.

Transit authority officials said there had been no signal problems at the time of the collision.

Passengers described being thrown around and having to make their way out of the station through heavy black smoke.

A doctor at Boston City Hospital, where the most seriously injured passengers were taken, said injuries ranged from broken limbs to head injuries.

Dr. Peter Moyers said eight patients were in serious condition with fractured limbs and one man was in critical condition with a head injury.

About 50 people were taken to Massachusetts General Hospital but their injuries did not appear serious, a spokesman said.

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