A child was killed and another was seriously injured on Thursday after they were hit by a train along a railway line in the western German town of Recklinghausen, local authorities said.
Bild newspaper said the victims were dragged by a freight train for several hundred meters (yards).
"It's horrible. Children and trains and at such a young age, it's just horrible what happened here and one can only hope the parents will have the strength to overcome this great misfortune," Herbert Reul, the interior minister in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia, told journalists at the scene.
"Why, how come, these are all questions that no one can yet answer and wouldn't solve anything," Reul said.