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Beijing-Shanghai bullet trains cut for safety

(Shanghai Daily)

08:09, August 12, 2011

Shanghai (Shanghai Daily) --The Ministry of Railways has unveiled a new schedule for bullet trains, a day after the Cabinet ordered high-speed trains to run at slower speeds for safety reasons.

High-speed trains running on lines between Beijing and Tianjin, and between Shanghai and Hangzhou, will run at 300 kilometers per hour instead of 350kph, the ministry said yesterday.

Lines that run at 250kph will be cut back to 200kph, including on services between Shanghai and Beijing, Hefei and Nanjing, Hefei and Wuhan, Shijiazhuang and Taiyuan and other lines. The CRH high-speed trains that operate at 200kph will be reduced to 160kph, it added.

Ticket prices will be reduced by 5 percent on the affected lines, the ministry said.

The new schedule will come into effect next Tuesday on four high-speed lines, including Shanghai-Beijing, and extend to other routes from August 28, rail officials said.

The other three lines are the Beijing-Tianjin intercity high-speed railway, Hainan east ring line and Guangzhou-Zhuhai intercity rail. The number of trains on these lines is unchanged.

However, services will be cut on the Shanghai-Beijing High-Speed Railway with trains along the 1,318-kilometer route reduced to 66 pairs of trains per day, down from the current 88 pairs, from next Tuesday.

The cuts are because the China North Locomotive and Rolling Stock is recalling CRH380BL trains that run on the line for an overhaul.

The recall came after the Ministry of Railways earlier this week ordered the Changchun Railway Vehicles Co, a subsidiary of CNR, to halt production. The firm has reportedly made about a quarter of the trains running on the new Shanghai-Beijing route.

The CRH380BL trains are said to be involved in most of almost 40 breakdowns reported since late June.

The first Shanghai-Beijing service leaving Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station will be at 7:10am instead of the original 7am from next Tuesday and the last to arrive at the Hongqiao station will be at 11:01pm compared to the current 11:27pm, rail officials said.

The fastest service between Shanghai and Beijing will still take 4 hours and 48 minutes as the faster trains are already limited to a top speed of 300kph.

To compensate for the cuts during the day, new bullet train services leaving at night and arriving the next morning along the Shanghai-Beijing route will start from September 1.

Shanghai rail operators said yesterday that three services from Shanghai Hongqiao Railway Station to Hangzhou, the G7437, G7407 and G7329, and one from Nanjing to Shanghai, the G7197, would also be canceled.

Officials at Shanghai Railway Station said passengers can buy bullet train tickets five days in advance from today.

The State Council also ordered overall safety checks on high-speed railways at its meeting on Wednesday following the fatal train collision at Wenzhou that killed 40 people last month and raised concerns over the fast-growing high-speed rail sector.

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