Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Power Failure, Manual Error Blamed on Shanghai Subway Crash

The September 27 subway crash in Shanghai, which injured 284 people, was caused by a power failure and manual error, a day after its chairman blamed the accident on signaling equipment. Reportedly, operators did not follow proper procedures after a power shortage disrupted signaling. Shanghai Metro will conduct safety inspections and improve training following the crash.

COMMENT: “The main cause of the accident has no relation with the signaling system,” Philippe Kasse, a spokesman for France-based Alstom, said by e-mail yesterday. Services on Line 10 were shut across a 13-station stretch most of yesterday. Full operations on the track, which opened last year, resumed at 2000 hours. The company limited train speeds to 45 kilometers (28 miles) an hour.

The accident, two months after a fatal high-speed train crash, has stoked concerns that China’s rapid construction of new transport links comes at the cost of safety. Shanghai’s subway and train network expanded more than sevenfold in eight years to 453 kilometers because of a growing population and demand during last year’s World Expo. More than 500 people were evacuated from the two metro trains when they crashed into one another. Of the injured, 95 were admitted to hospitals or were under observation. A train on the No. 10 line also ran in the wrong direction on July 28 because of a signaling fault during an upgrade.

In July, a high-speed train crashed into the back of another locomotive near the city of Wenzhou, killing 40 people. That accident was caused by a signaling fault following a lightning strike.

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