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Train collision in China kills 35, injures 191

67 Comments

A bullet train crashed into another high-speed train that had stalled after being struck by lightning in eastern China, causing four carriages to fall off a viaduct and killing at least 35 people and injuring 191 others, state media and an official said Sunday.

It was the first derailment on China's high-speed rail network since the country launched bullet trains in 2007 with a top speed of 155 miles (250 kilometers) per hour, the China Daily reported.

The first train was traveling south from the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou when it lost power in the lightning strike and was hit from behind by the second train in Wenzhou city at 8:27 p.m. Saturday, the official Xinhua News Agency said. The second train had left Beijing and both trains were destined for Fuzhou in eastern Fujian province.

The Ministry of Railways said in a statement that the first four carriages of the moving train and the last two carriages of the stalled train derailed.

An official in the Zhejiang provincial emergency office told The Associated Press that 35 people had died, including one foreign female. He said her nationality was not clear. A further 191 people were being treated at hospitals, said the official, who gave only his surname, Hua, as is common with Chinese officials.

Early Sunday, Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao called for an all-out effort to rescue passengers still trapped in the wreckage hours after the collision, Xinhua said. China Central Television later said the search-and-rescue operation had ended by 4 a.m. Sunday.

A preliminary investigation by the Zhejiang provincial government showed that four coaches of the moving train fell off the viaduct, Xinhua said. The cars plunged about 65 to 100 feet (20 to 30 meters) from the elevated section of track, it said.

Photos taken at the scene showed one badly damaged car lying on its side by the viaduct and another car leaning against the viaduct after landing on its end.

Xinhua quoted an unidentified witness as saying, "Rescuers have dragged many passengers out of the coach that fell on the ground."

The Wenzhou city government said more than 1,000 people participated in the rescue operation.

About 1,500 passengers were taken to a middle school, and more than 500 residents had given blood by 9 a.m. Sunday after appeals from the local blood bank, which said many of the injured needed transfusions, CCTV reported.

It was China's worst train accident since April 2008, when a train traveling from Beijing to the eastern coastal city of Qingdao derailed and crashed into another train, leaving 72 people dead and another 416 injured.

Minister of Railways Sheng Guangzu, who rushed to the scene, ordered an in-depth investigation of Saturday's accident.

The trains involved are "D'' trains — first-generation bullet trains with an average speed of about 95 miles (150 kilometers) per hour and not as fast as the new Beijing-Shanghai line.

China has spent billions of dollars and plans more massive spending to link the country with a high-speed rail network. Power outages and other malfunctions have plagued the showcase high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai since it opened June 30.

Official plans call for China's bullet train network to expand to 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) of track this year and 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) by 2020.

The huge spending connected with the rail expansion also has been blamed for corruption. Railways Minister Liu Zhijun was dismissed this spring amid an investigation into unspecified corruption allegations.

No details have been released about the allegations against him, but news reports say they include kickbacks, bribes, illegal contracts and sexual liaisons.

© Copyright 2011 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

67 Comments
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RIP

3 ( +4 / -2 )

Sorry for the people who died in that accident.

5 ( +7 / -2 )

When dealing with" things that move " like car or train, people are much more alert. I pass a huge dealership of "Great Wall, Chery " in Parramatta ,Sydney often but almost after a year now I have not seen a single ,repeat A SINGLE, car of those brands on streets!

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

cause? lightning, means a natural disaster, article is stuffed with irrelevant contents. RIP.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

We will have to wait to see the actual cause, but somehow the Automatic train Control system failed to stop the train, loss of power should not prevent a train from stopping.

Considering that similar incendents of power loss due to lightning stikes have occured on the faster and newer Shanghai to Beijing line, A review of Saftey must be immediately implemented.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

It's only going to get worse, I fear. If an ordinary lightning strike was enough to cause an accident like this, how have the Japanese shinkansen managed for half a century without more accidents??? When it comes to technology like this, there's something to be said for the years of planning and refinement invested in making them as safe as possible.

Next up--a disaster involving one of China's rush-to-the-top skyscrapers. God forbid such a thing should happen...

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Safety > Speed

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Terrible.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This is a tragedy, but one can't miss the irony here... just one week after the Chinese were bragging about how superior their bullet train technology is to Japan's, this happens.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

who responsible the mistake ?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

High speed economics without slow speed preparation is what causes many accidents such as what TEPCO did.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Reading the China Daily yesterday and there was an article from a few days back about how Chinese trains are vulnerable to power outages, and would a new bullet train be able to stop safely in the event of a power failure?

The very thing they were discussing seems to have just happened.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Indeed a terrible tragedy.

However China's Bragging about its HSR being the best and effectively stealing technology and merging it to produce new trains, along with a rush to be the biggest, fastest etc leads many to wonder in all this rush if saftey has not been compromised.

I regularly ride Chinese trains, Tempory power faliures on HS trains are not that uncommon, I have experienced it. Further as to control issues, as a regular rider of the Shanghai Metro, I am still appalled at the shocking Automatic Control of the trains on the newer lines. Regularly there are emergency stops, sending people flying, we also had a metro train rear end another leading to fatality. This has been going on for nearly 2 years with little or no improvement. The lines were rushed into service for the Shanghai World Expo.

More haste less speed, and likely saftey. I hope some good will come from this sad incident, by taking more time to build, and develope here in China.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

hmm, I'm on my way to Narita now, heading for Shanghai. probably I won't use their train this time. RIP all the poor guys

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Quote from China Daily "Actually, problems with China's fledgling high-speed railway have been in the spotlight in the past weeks after the Beijing-Shanghai high-speed railway started operation on June 30. Trains on the route have been delayed for at least three times because of power failure or lightning factors."

One Chinese citizen made an interesting comment. He said that China has learned the technology, but now they need to learn management.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

He said that China has learned the technology, but now they need to learn management.

I disagree with that Chinese citizen. You cannot reverse engineer a set of technologies so complex without losing something in the process. They might have learned how to make a train attain a high speed, but they haven't learned how to properly stop it during dangerous situation or to control several trains on the same track. That's as essential as brakes on a car.

They have put what is basically an alpha-test version of Japanese bullet trains into full operation without ironing out the bugs.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Timeon:

hmm, I'm on my way to Narita now, heading for Shanghai. probably I won't use their train this time. RIP all the poor guys

Get over it. Aren't you scared of flying either because last time I heard, plane accidents occur too? And I wonder if you've taken JR in Osaka because one train was known to have flown right into an apt block while going round a corner.

Nandakandamanda:

Let's just hope the authorities learn from these accidents. Because they still have a lot to learn.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

RIP Passengers... but wow... it didn't take long at all for the Chinese HSR's to supass the Japanese in what the Japanese haven't done since 1964 (have a collision and derailment fatality in the HSR service)

4 ( +5 / -1 )

As I understand it, the lightening shut off the power, which in turn didn't allow the automatic system to alert the train behind it. Just from these bare boned facts, they don't seem to have a control room with people monitoring all trains all the time and are in contact with the operators. If they had some kind of redundant power source for communications between monitoring personnel and operators, this could have been avoided. If you need to copy from the Japanese, you need to copy everything, not just the working parts. You need to copy the management systems as well.

And of course, this is what happens when international "face" is more important than national safety. But then again, China's never been one to be overly concerned about her people.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Pukey2

Don't you think it will be wise taking precautionary measures not to use the system until they determine the cause and fix whatever the problem was before people start using the system again? When an airplane goes down the first thing the operators do is to ground the same plane type until they know it was not a system malfunction of the plane itself.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

gaijinfo

That theory doesn't really work since if there was a power failure what powered the train that collided in the first place? The signal transmitters and communication are on a separate power source due to difference in voltage. If the signal system within the train failed the automatic train control system should have kicked in immediately stopping all trains on the line.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

****My condolences to the victims, their relatives friends & family. I don't believe all the facts are in that caused the accident but I'm sure an investigation is on going.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

SamuraiBlue: "When an airplane goes down the first thing the operators do is to ground the same plane type until they know it was not a system malfunction of the plane itself."

So when there's a train accident in Japan they should stop ALL trains? Fat chance! That would devastate the economy.

RIP to the victims. If it was indeed a lightning strike and it hit the train directly there is little to nothing that could have been done. Not sure why they couldn't have communicated that they were dead on the tracks, but could be due to the lightning strike as well. Regardless, a lot of people died and that's what needs to be focussed on. When JR West had a major accident 7 years back or so people didn't come on and brag about inferior technology -- they mourned the victims and looked at human negligence and management, and rightly so. As well as being a natural disaster (lightning strike) I suspect gross negligence, but I don't blame the tech.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Samuraiblue:

From Reuters:

The accident occurred on a bridge near the city of Wenzhou after the first train lost power due to a lightning strike and a bullet train following behind crashed into it, state television said.

The total power failure rendered useless an electronic safety system designed to warn following trains of stalled

trains on the tracks up ahead, and automatically halt them before a collision can occur, the report added.

I don't know much about trains or train systems, but I think something like this could have been avoided if they though things through, instead of pushed it as fast as they could.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

smithinjapan

You really have serious reading problems. I wrote the same type of plane and that is exactly what had happened when they had a minor incident with the A380, they grounded the whole fleet around the globe not just a single operator until they determined what the problem was. As for JR West with the derailment accident, they closed that line for a week or two until they had identified the problem. HSR are suppose to be designed for accident prevention not accident survival with various fail safe features so this kind of accident is not a minor problem that can just be brushed away.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Agree with SamuraiBlue. Anyone can build trains that goes fast. The key is to be able to operate at high speed safely.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Kwaabish, exactly. That's what I meant with my post but I got a thumbs down :(

2 ( +4 / -2 )

@Kwaabish

"Anyone can build trains that go fast."

Ha! You've never lived in Britain, have you? :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@bicultural

Fixed it :)

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Some folks dont seem to have figured out the train in front was hit by lightning & was stalled on the tracks, the 2nd train still with full power rammed it! Why on earth there isnt a safety system to stop ALL trains on the track in such an occurence is beyond belief & makes this 100% human error, ie it SHOULD have been preventable.

RIP to the victims, now no one will give China trains a 2nd look, they are toast outside China, now watch around you as the locals here start to gloat, my mrs aleady has been

2 ( +2 / -0 )

maybe if china didn't kick out the foreign companies they contract to build trains for them after they have given the Chinese company all they needed. like they have done with Kawasaki and seimens. they would have technical support on hand to prevent such things. such things are only going to continue to happen as long as china is interested in stealing things from foreign companies.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Photos taken at the scene

thanks for that JT, i can imagine the scene so well now...

can't stop in power failure

it does sounds like tepco built them a train!

the Shanghai mag-lev also suffers from this i read somewhere... again another bad design.

the new JR mag-lev is different however, and will stop soon after a power cut

3 ( +3 / -0 )

japanese trains have many safety features with back ups and employee culture of safety. even slight earthquakes further up a track will make all the trains on the line safely slow to a stop with in milliseconds of the event.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Sunhawk - why are you trying to turn this thread into a "Pride in Japan" thing? 35 men, women and children are dead and you just want to crap on about Japan's "safety" trains? Any opportunity to take a snipe at China you will take it. God - Japan beats the USA in the world cup soccer and you somehow managed to take a shot at China.

For your information, look up this - you are in for a shock- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amagasaki_rail_crash . 106 poor Japanese souls died in this crash, 555 injured. Rail/plane/road crashes can happen in developed nations AND developing ones like China. Yet to you, this tragedy is a chance for nationalistic pointscoring and bragging rights - 35 people are dead, man.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

This was predictable. Poor passengers, victims of Chinese bureaucracy that does not understand management, maintenance, and operation know-hows are very much part of technology.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

the amagasaki crash was the result of the driver doing something he knew was bad. it was tragic and back up systems have been implemented.

this crash is a result of the communist party rushing things, stealing tech, cutting off the foreign companies, being braggarts. its a classic example of commies sacrificing its people for the glory of the party.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Adamwesti:

I don't believe all the facts are in that caused the accident but I'm sure an investigation is on going.

I don't think they intend to perform a proper investigation. They've already buried 4 of the most damaged carriages! Less than 24-hours after the accident. The C-gov is too busy, literally, covering up the real story.

A few weeks ago it was claimed by Wang Yongping that no Japanese technology was used in Chinese HSR. Today, it's being said the trains involved are Japanese J/V trains.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No warning system in effect?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

digiridoo, there's supposed to be one, but clearly it failed. Last month China's Railway Ministry said their anti-collision system could stop a train running at top speed in under a minute.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

why am i not surprised. fake fireworks fake this and that fake apple, copy this and that..ah the rest of world not just Japan is starting to learn the first rule of Chinese business..dont trust any one. may be when they drag them selves from rank 100 economy wise they will employ better business ethics.. but i doubt as living a dream or making money at any cost lack of respect for legal rules etc, china is too famous for that.

anyone for a Chinese train?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I feel very sad for all of the victims in this crazy accident, but how in the heck can lightning stop a bullet train there in China?? Why has this never happened here in Japan?? Anyway, I hope the experts can find out soon enough to avoid future accidents like this. RIP dead folk out there in China.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

sunhawk:

this crash is a result of the communist party rushing things, stealing tech, cutting off the foreign companies, being braggarts. its a classic example of commies sacrificing its people for the glory of the party.

That last part explained why there's a touch of bitterness in your posts.

canadaguy:

A few weeks ago it was claimed by Wang Yongping that no Japanese technology was used in Chinese HSR. Today, it's being said the trains involved are Japanese J/V trains.

I don't know what this guy said, but it's plain and simple (check wikipedia and other websites) that China's HSR has used technology from many countries. It was never a secret.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Why has this never happened here in Japan?? "

thats obvious.

"Anyway, I hope the experts can find out soon enough to avoid future accidents like this. RIP dead folk out there in China"

I'm expecting more self inflicted accidents.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

No, no one should gloat over this accident. But regardless of the nuclear power industry, I don't find anything wrong with being proud of Japan's railway system. That DOES deserve praise.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Pukey2, try "Canadian" eh~

The Chinese have been trying to sell "its" HSR technology without any regard to foreign contribution toward its development. Sure, it's a false claim and their disregard for IPR should be challenged in every jurisdiction.

My bigger point is that those, like Wang, who were so proudly claiming China's railway technology is better than Japan's are now backtracking.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

For the obvious reason, I never ever buy anything made in China. I am sure the rules have been heavily bent while making that (every) product.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

For the obvious reason, I never ever buy anything made in China

Wow - you've never been to a 100yen shop? Seriously - check the labels on the back of anything lying around in your home, and then tell me there is nothing Chinese there you have bought! LOL

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Let's be clear here. The China rail system has had many issues with safety and corruption. In particular with High Speed Rail. Back in April China's own Ministry of Rail proclaimed the safety concerns "Severe". That statement was later walked back for political reasons, but here we are with a major preventable rail disaster. It doesn't help the situation that China's Rail Ministry is almost $300bn (USD) in debt, and ridership is lagging. Almost all that debt is held buy quasi-private Chinese banks. If the ministry defaults it could have a similar fall-out as the US sub-prime debacle. None of this looks good for Chinese HSR Safety.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

It wouldn't surprise me if the ATS was turned off, never worked in the first place, or if it was simply a box containing a brick. On paper the technology looks good, but when implemented by shysters looking to make as many Yuan as possible it falls to pieces.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Don't know why it's not reported in this article but the two trains that collided were one made by Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Japanese) and the other by Bombardier (Canadian). According to the Chinese neither train malfunctioned and the cause was not a design issue in the trains themselves but a problem with the Chinese designed/built control system (tracks, lines, signals, etc.).

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Also, the Japanese news was reporting this morning that the Chinese Officials had announced that their intent is to clean up the accident scene as soon as possible and repair and re-open the line for regular service in 24 hours' time. That's insane.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

it's not insane to the "great and glorious peoples communist party of china!" they spent hundreds of billions in US dollars to build that network and it needs to get back to running. they are all ready burying the trains on site chopped up in pieces with dead bodies still in them. the state is telling the media not to cover it anymore and to report on happy fluff news. something stinks and its the gov't!

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

sunhawk,

They are all ready burying the trains on site chopped up in pieces with dead bodies still in them.

Sunhawk please show some proof or is this another of your anti china rants...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

http://uk.ibtimes.com/articles/186099/20110725/anger-against-government-s-handling-of-train-collision-hits-china.htm

here you go.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Sunhawk,

The report says that the bodies fell out when the carriages where being moved. Nowhere in the article does it say that they are "burying the trains on site chopped up in pieces with dead bodies still in them". It says they are burying the trains yes but that the bodies fell out when the trains where being moved. So how do you know that the people where not trapped underneath or in the carriages and came free when they where moved. I think you where having a pot shot at China for the sake of it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

sunhawk

Defending its decision to bury the wreckage, the Railway Ministry said the trains contained valuable "national level" technology that could be stolen and thus must be buried.

Classic!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

this is a gov't that doesn't care enough to do a full investigation or even remove all the bodies before they clean up. burying the dead along with the trains is not a far stretch, even if through negligence if not on purpose.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Sunhawk,

Your anti China stance is well noted. As is the fact that there is no evidence that they as you claimed "chopped the bodies up with the carriages and buried them".

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Defending its decision to bury the wreckage, the Railway Ministry said the trains contained valuable "national level" technology that could be stolen and thus must be buried.

Who would want to copy that failed technology? Especially when the whole world knows that they can get the better version of it at Siemens or Kawasaki Heavy?

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Spidapig24

"chopped the bodies up with the carriages and buried them".

sunhawk never wrote that. He posted:

,,,they are all ready burying the trains on site chopped up in pieces with dead bodies still in them...

BIG difference.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

USNinJapan2

"chopped the bodies up with the carriages and buried them". sunhawk never wrote that. He posted: ",,,they are all ready burying the trains on site chopped up in pieces with dead bodies still in them..." BIG difference.

HUH, sorry but try again we both said the same thing. He said they are burying the trains on site chopped up with bodies inside. I said chopped the bodies up with the carriages. It is exactly the same result, bodies and carriages chopped up and buried. Big difference hey. HMMM l understand you realise both statements say the same thing dont you?

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Spidapig24

TOTALLY disagree. One version has chopped up bodies; the other doesn't, necessarily. Your version sounded much much worse, otherwise I wouldn't have said anything.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Funny to see China's attempts and subsequent failure to control public perception. Very sad to see this come at the cost of human lives and dignity.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Bullet trains travels very fast and they should have reliable backup safety mechanism that kick in when others fail. Also, since they travel at high rate of speed, these trains should be equipped with seat belts, similar to airlines, and enforce these people to buckle up when they are seated. The seat belt will decrease injuries during sudden stops or any accidents.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

USNinJapan2,

TOTALLY disagree. One version has chopped up bodies; the other doesn't, necessarily. Your version sounded much much worse, otherwise I wouldn't have said anything.

Thats fine. Given that both statements end up with the same outcome semantics isnt really important is it? In the end what he claimed was not even in the article? End of story

0 ( +0 / -0 )

funnnny to see China's attempts and subsequent failure to control public perception. Very sad to see this come at the cost of human lives and dignity. just like japans's attempt at fukushima?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Regarding this train wreck and the affect it's had on the way the internet is controlled in China, I offer this brief read:http://blogs.mcclatchydc.com/china/2011/07/a-tussle-for-the-internet-in-china.html

Another summary of the story here: http://blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/07/26/what_happened_in_wenzhou

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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