At least 20 people have been killed in a head-on collision between two passenger trains in the Belgian town of Halle.

The accident occurred during the morning rush hour nearly 1km from Halle, which is 15km southwest of national capital city Brussels, according to Belgian broadcaster VRT.

One of the trains was travelling from the Flemish town of Leuven, east of Brussels, to Braine-le-Comte in the city’s south, while the second train was travelling from the town of Quievrain, on the French border, to the industrial city of Liege.

The accident, which took place amid bad weather conditions following heavy snow, has also resulted in major damage to overhead power lines at the station of Buizingen, according to officials.

Rail services, including the high-speed line between Brussels and Paris, have been suspended for the day as rescue works are carried out.