French rail company SNCF has reported that children were present in the high-speed TGV train that derailed during a test run on Saturday.

The train was carrying 49 railway technicians in its test run on a new Paris-Strasbourg line in the town of Eckwersheim. The line is reportedly scheduled to be opened in April 2016.

The authorities are investigating as to why the children were travelling in the train on its test run.

Eleven people were killed when the train derailed, caught fire and fell into a canal.

Preliminary investigation suggests high speed as the reason for the derailment. The train was reportedly moving at a speed of around 350km/h, whereas its peak speed is 320km/h.

"An investigation should determine the number of unauthorised people present on the train."

SNCF currently operates 450 TGVs to 230 destinations, including 21 trains between Paris and Bordeaux, 19 between Lyon and Marseille, 16 between Paris and Strasbourg, 13 between Paris and Aix-en-Provence, and four between Rennes and Lille.

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An SNCF spokesman was quoted by the media as saying that a few children were among the injured, and an investigation should determine the number of unauthorised people present on the train.

Terming the derailment ‘inexplicable’, SNCF chairman Guillaume Pepy said they will probe into the circumstances in which children were allowed to board the train.

"SNCF does not approve this practice. A train test is a train test," he said.

It is not clear if children were among those killed. Five people are still missing and 30 were injured in the incident.

The accident happened a day after the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday.

Image: The TGV trains run at a peak speed of 320km/h. Photo: courtesy of Taxiarchos228 via Wikipedia.