40 hurt as trains crash in China

2011-09-27 12:36
Shanghai - Two subway trains crashed in the Chinese city of Shanghai on Tuesday, rail authorities said, in an accident that reportedly injured around 40 passengers.

Local news sites reported that around 40 people had been hurt in the accident, which rail authorities said was caused by a signal failure. There were no immediate reports of any deaths.

Pictures from the scene of the crash posted on Chinese websites showed bloodied passengers, some lying on the floor apparently unconscious and others with injuries to their heads.

"There was a collision on metro line 10 due to signal failure. Operation between Hongqiao station and Tiantonglu station is suspended," said a statement on the Shanghai metro company's website.

"Police and armed police have been dispatched to the scene to help with the evacuation," it said, adding that nine metro stations on line 10 have been closed.


Police cordoned off streets around the metro station, where sirens could be heard blaring, an AFP reporter in Shanghai said.

The company statement did not mention casualties and the official Xinhua news agency said the number of wounded would only be provided once all passengers had been evacuated from the train.

Local authorities were investigating the exact cause of the crash, in which one subway train rear-ended another, it said.

The accident comes as China is struggling to rebuild public trust in its vast rail system after a high-speed train crash near the eastern city of Wenzhou in July in which at least 40 died.

The results of an investigation into that accident have yet to be released, but officials have blamed the crash on a failure of the Chinese-built signalling system in use on the line.

A series of near misses have added to the mistrust in the system - including one in July on the same line where the accident occurred, in which a train took a wrong turn during peak hours due to a signal failure.

No one was hurt in the accident, but passengers were alarmed by the mistake.

The crash in Wenzhou, a city south of Shanghai, was the worst ever to hit China's high-speed train network, raising questions about whether safety had been overlooked in the rush to develop China's vast railway system.

The Chinese government suspended approval of all new railway construction projects after the Wenzhou crash and cut the speed of trains running on newly built high-speed lines.

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