China’s ongoing rollout of bullet trains and railroad at world record-breaking speed has come into great scrutiny after two bullet trains collided and left 35 dead and 210 injured.
The crash occurred late Saturday on the high-speed railroad in east China’s industrial heartland of Zhejiang province after a stalled train struck by lightning was rear-ended by a bullet train going from Beijing to Fuzhou. Four of the mangled coaches toppled off a bridge. Fifty-eight trains were suspended since the accident, the worst since China launched its first bullet train in mid-2008.
“We had no idea about the height. We just jumped,’’ Feng, 62, who threw herself out of a window, said. The casualties were lower than expected for the two trains with more than 1,400 passengers in all.
Earlier this year, railway minister Liu Zhijun, who was nicknamed great leap Liu for ordering trains to cross top speeds of 350kmph, was sacked for alleged corruption and concerns that safety was being compromised to achieve mega targets on unrealistic deadlines. The new railway minister announced that China’s bullet trains would slowdown to 250-300kmph.