Less than a year into operation, the high-speed rail connecting Shanghai to Kunming in southwestern Yunnan province has been found to have safety issues that could put passengers at risk, according to Apple Daily.
Reports say the construction of the high-speed railway has been substandard and that the contractors are responsible, including the designers, construction teams, as well as the monitoring units.
Several train tunnels cutting through the hilly terrain in southwest China’s Guizhou province have also been found to be substandard.
The construction work was carried out during the term of former Guizho party secretary Chen Min’er, a close ally of President Xi Jinping.
The Weibo page “Guizhou Hot Topics” issued a report about the Guizhou high-speed railway train quality.
The report said that during June to July this year, there were multiple incidents that endangered the safety of passengers and affected the efficiency of the railway.
One incident occurred on June 30 which forced train operations to stop for emergency repairs after rainwater had entered the tunnel near Guiding.
On July 17, 65 trains were affected and 7,000 passengers were stranded due to water leaks near a tunnel in Guanling and Pu’an area.
A task force created to investigate the events found widespread corruption where contractors, designers, third-party examiners and the owners allegedly cut corners, illegally outsourced construction work and adopted flawed designs.
So far, no one has been held responsible, although some contractors have been fined and their work suspended.
China Railway told the paper.cn that the reports are real. However, both the Weibo “Guizhou Hot Topics” and the paper.cn removed all references to the incidents shortly after these were posted.
In 2012, the Shanghai-Kunming high-speed railway was revealed to be faulty, using China-made slots passed off as German imports.
Hu Xingdou, an economics professor at the Beijing Institute of Technology, told Apple Daily that China’s railway development is “too fast”.
Management and systems have failed to keep up, Hu said.
Hu said fake information on railway construction and illegal outsourcing is not uncommon in China. These could mean deaths when an accident occurs.
Meanwhile, netizens said the penalties for erring contractors are not deterrent enough. More than 2,000 kilometers of railways are 80 percent tunnels that are now unsafe, they said.
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