China Metro Train Derails in Test Run

As China continues to work on its high-speed railways amid concerns over corruption, a subway train derailed during a test run in Kunming leaving a driver dead and injuring another, from AFP: The first carriage of the train ran off the tracks in the city of Kunming in Yunnan province at 9:09 am (0109 GMT), the China News Service said. There were no passengers on board. One driver was struck by falling heating equipment in the driver’s cabin and died, while another was slightly injured and taken to hospital, the report said, citing the subway’s operator, state-owned Kunming Rail Transit Co. The city government was investigating the cause of the accident, it added. Chinese authorities have long been accused of compromising safety in their rush to develop the country’s vast transport network. According to the Wall Street Journal, the rail was slated to be in full service by the Lunar Holiday next month: China in recent years has built the world’s longest high-speed railway systems, and now has some of the longest subways. Late last month, Beijing alone put four additional lines into service, pushing the total to 16 that snake 442 kilometers through the capital. Proponents of the mass transit systems say the world’s most populous nation is already too crowded with cars as its urban populations expand, and they say the rail engineering and construction jobs provide growth for the economy. China’s locomotive makers are starting to export rail systems to countries like Turkey, with an ambition to supply developed markets including the U.S. Safety concerns are rising as the railway program expands, as experts point out the signaling and management systems involved in rail are complex and take years to perfect. China’s bullet-train system suffered a range of mishaps in 2011, including the collision of two trains ...
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