China Puts Brakes on Bullet Trains

Will slow trains by 30mph while it also conducts safety checks
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2011 7:03 AM CDT
This aerial photo taken on July 24, 2011 shows rescue operations continuing on the wreckage of two high-speed trains that collided the night before in the town of Shuangyu.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – China is putting the brakes on its vaunted system of high-speed trains, following a derailment last month that killed 40 and sparked such fury that Beijing had to order a media blackout on negative coverage. China's fastest trains will be slowed by about 30mph to 185mph beginning next month, reports the LA Times, and Beijing will also conduct a series of safety checks along its existing lines. China currently has 8,000 miles of rail, with plans to expand that to 10,000. Much of the rage over last month's derailment, however, focused on the government's having cut corners on safety in the name of technological advances.

China also said that it was suspending the approval of new rail lines, reports the New York Times. Less trumpeted, however, was the government's decision to proceed with the construction of all previously approved rail lines—a three- to four-year backlog unlikely to meaningfully slow progress—though Beijing says those lines will also undergo a safety review.

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