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China's bullet trains come to a halt: Power failure

Last updated on: July 11, 2011 14:58 IST

China's bullet trains come to a halt: Power failure

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

In the 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 on Sunday, 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.

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Photographs: Reuters
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"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.

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Photographs: Reuters
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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.

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Photographs: Reuters
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A publicity official with the Chinese 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.


Photographs: Reuters
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