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Defects found on 12 rail lines

By Tan Zongyang and Xin Dingding  (China Daily)

08:05, August 09, 2012

A bullet train runs on the Donghuan high-speed railway, which links Haikou, capital of the island province of Hainan, and Sanya, a tropical resort in the province. The rail line has been exposed as having some problems with the quality of its infrastructure.(Shi Yan / for China Daily)

The Ministry of Railways has found quality defects on 12 rail lines that may endanger railroad safety, according to a document recently obtained by the media.

Seven of the 12 lines have been put into service, including high-speed passenger railways between Wuhan and Guangzhou and between Zhengzhou and Xi'an, according to the document.

The problems were discovered during routine inspections. The construction defects on the seven lines included cracks and leaks on tunnel arches, tilted communications towers and poorly arranged electronic cables, the Chinese news portal reported on Tuesday.

Other problems were found on five lines currently under construction, including one linking Lhasa and Xigaze in the Tibet autonomous region, which is an extension of the Qinghai-Tibet railway.

The ministry severely criticized some contractors for building with low-quality materials and not using enough iron bars in reinforced concrete.

Media reports quoted anonymous experts as saying the defects might threaten railway safety.

Cracks on the railway tunnel's arch could cause concrete chunks to break off when a high-speed train passes, destroying the train's power supply equipment, they said.

A ministry official who spoke to China Daily on the condition of anonymity confirmed the authenticity of the document, saying it was meant to be circulated inside the ministry and to relevant parties.

He said the ministry is paying great attention to quality issues, and has organized regular inspections on railway construction and operations.

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