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Train derailment in China

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Derailment in Shuangyu Town in Wenzhou City of east China's Zhejiang Province

Xinhua reports:

At least 33 people were killed and 190 others injured in a train crash and derailing accident late Saturday in east China’s Zhejiang Province, according to the provincial emergency office.

The latest result of investigation released early Sunday morning by the Zhejiang provincial government showed that the accident occurred at 8:27 p.m. Saturday at the at the section of Shuangyu Town in Wenzhou City, when high-speed train D301 crashed into another bullet train D3115. Four coaches of D301 fell off the viaduct.

The accident occurred after high-speed train D3115 was allegedly hit by lightning and lost drive, and then rear-ended by another bullet train D301.

The former train was running from the provincial capital Hangzhou to the southeastern city of Fuzhou, and the latter one traveled from Beijing to Fuzhou.

The trains were administrated by two different regional railway bureaus — train D3115 by the Shanghai Railway Bureau while train D301 by the Nanchang Railway Bureau.

In the opposite direction, high-speed train D3212 from southeastern city of Xiamen to Hangzhou was also stopped by lightning at about 8 p.m. Saturday. No passenger was injured, said Liu Jiwei who was on board.

In a separate item Xinhua reports:

The operation of 58 trains was suspended on Sunday after a train collision and derailment in east China’s Zhejiang Province killed at least 35 people and injured more than 200, railway authorities said.

The Ministry of Railways said the damaged train tracks are under repair, with service expected to be resumed by 6:00 p.m. Sunday.

Local railway authorities have ordered two temporary service trains to carry stranded passengers away from the accident site. The injured passengers have been taken to local hospitals for treatment, said the ministry.

The ministry promised full ticket refunds for passengers who were supposed to take the suspended trains.

BBC reported:

The railway ministry said it had sacked the head of the Shanghai railway bureau, his deputy and the bureau’s Communist Party chief.

“As leaders… they should take ultimate responsibility for the main cause of the accident,” railways ministry spokesman Wang Yongping said.

The accident comes at a time when China has been spending billions of dollars to build a high-speed rail network across the country.

Last month it inaugurated the Beijing-Shanghai link, reducing the travel time between the two cities by half.

Reuters reports:

Shares of China rail equipment makers fell as much as 16 percent on Monday after a deadly train crash at the weekend triggered concerns about the safety of China’s fast-growing rail network and threatened its plans to export high-speed train technology.

Initial reports from China were that the trains involved in the collision were made with Chinese technology, but media reports Monday laid the blame on “foreign technology.”

However, a spokesman for China South Locomotive, which built both trains in a joint venture with Canada’s Bombadier, said it was signalling operations that were at fault.

Under Beijing’s five-year plan to 2015, the country will invest between 3.6 trillion and 4 trillion yuan ($540-607 billion) in its rail sector.

“Nobody can tell whether these targets are still intact now,” said Mark Po, an analyst at UOB Kay Hian.

The effort has not been without controversy as China’s rail partners from Japan and Europe have often accused it of strong-arm tactics that force them to turn over technology to win contracts only to see China use that technology against them in bidding for other rail deals outside the country.

China has used a number of suppliers for trains and for the signalling equipment used to guide them. Its foreign suppliers include companies like General Electric , Bombardier, Kawasaki Heavy Industries , Alstom and others.

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