Power cut cripples China`s bullet train service

Last Updated: Monday, July 11, 2011 - 14:55

Beijing: China`s newly launched
high-speed bullet train faced opprobrium after the service between Beijing and Shangahai was paralysed for nearly 90
minutes following a power breakdown due to thunderstorms.

In a first major malfunction since its launch on June
30, nineteen trains on the Beijing-Shanghai rail link came to
a standstill for nearly 90 minutes yesterday, railway
authorities said.

The trains which usually cover a distance of 1,318-kms
in about five hours arrived late by several hours, invoking
angry reactions from passengers.

Several microbloggers, who were present in the train during the incident, wrote about their harrowing experience during the journey on the internet.
"The light is off, air conditioning is off, carriage is stifling, and there is a lack of oxygen," netizen Susan
Chen wrote in her microblog.

In another blog, passenger Banalin said: "after
waiting in the sweltering carriages for more than half an
hour, passengers began to lose patience and became agitated."

Another passenger wrote that the public address system
on the train kept explaining that the breakdown was due to the
heavy rain.
Another passenger `Wang` said some 1,000 passengers
sat in the darkness and air conditioners were not working
during that time.

After running for 20 minutes, the train stopped again.

"Almost all the facilities in the train were out of
service. We were very hungry and could not even grab a cup of
water. It was terrible," she said, the state run China Daily
reported.
The accident has increased safety concerns about the
landmark railway, which was launched one year ahead of its
schedule.

A publicity official with the Ministry of Railways
said that the delay were to ensure passenger safety.

There were similar incidents in 2007, the first year
that China started to use bullet trains.

Still, many microbloggers said they would not choose
high-speed trains after this incident, as punctuality and the
ability to operate regardless of the weather were meant to be
its advantages.

PTI




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