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Inferior line blamed for slow run of bullet train

(Shanghai Daily)

13:31, March 23, 2013


SHODDY construction work is again blamed for the slow running of high-speed trains in northern China, putting the focus back on the now dissolved railway ministry.

The line linking two northeastern cities - Harbin in Heilongjiang Province with Liaoning's Dalian - has a designed speed of 350 kilometers per hour but only manages less than 200kmh, according to the 21st Century Business Herald.

The report claimed that the bullet train speed was supposed to touch 300kmh from next month but it was being postponed due to "safety concerns as the poor-quality construction has not been corrected."

The 900-kilometer-long line was put into service last December at a cost of about 100 billion yuan (US$16 billion).

The news comes soon after the scrapping of the railway ministry earlier this month and replaced by units under transport authorities.

The high-speed line had problems even before it was put into use. A top manager stepped down following a corruption probe in 2011 and the tracks ran into technical issues because of the intense cold weather. There were other problems that reportedly could have jeopardized the operation's safety.

Repair work was carried out after top officials from the former Ministry of Railways pointed out questionable construction work in August. But cracks were found on the asphalt layer even after repairs.

Wang Mengshu, a respected railway expert, said technology for the running of lines in cold weather exists and blamed builders who "tried to save money and rush through the construction processes."

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