Chinese high-speed train was derailed today when it was hit from behind by another express, state media reports said, throwing two carriages off a viaduct and killing at least 11 people.
The derailed train had been crippled by a lightning strike and was stopped when the second one ploughed into it, the reports said, in an accident likely to raise new questions about the safety of a rapid rail expansion.
The accident, the first major mishap to hit China’s fast-expanding high-speed railway network, took place after one bullet train lost power after being struck by lightning, and was subsequently rear-ended by another train, the official Xinhua agency reported.
The trains were running on a bridge between Hangzhou, the prosperous capital city of Zhejiang province, and the city of Fuzhou. Xinhua quoted a witness as saying one coach of the train that lost power “plunged onto the ground vertically while another coach was hanging on the bridge with one side seriously deformed.” The bridge was more than 20 metres above the ground. Four cars on the second train also derailed.
Each coach was carrying around 100 passengers. State media said some passengers had posted messages for help on microblogs after the accident. The trains were “D trains” — the first model of China’s express trains, which run at around 150 kmph. China is now expanding its railway network with faster high-speed “G trains”, which travel at more than 250 kmph.
The Chinese government has recently invested billions in rapidly expanding its high-speed rail network.