Fresh off CMP’s post about problems and corruption in the high-speed network, news of a deadly crash via Shanghaiist:
At least 35 people were killed and over 200 injured in a horrific high-speed rail collision in Wenzhou, Zhejiang at about 8:30pm last night. The accident happened when one train, D3115, lost power after being struck by lightening, and then was rear-ended by another train, D301. A total of six carriages were derailed, two falling from the viaduct.
D3115 was traveling from Hangzhou to Fuzhou, and D301 from Beijing to Fuzhou. There were more than 1,400 passengers on the two trains.
Some reports are now putting the dead at over 40, and the number will likely continue to rise.
According to Zhejiang radio, the driver of D301 was stabbed to death by the brake handle after using the last moment of his life to pull the emergency brake.
After a call was put out from a local Wenzhou hospital for help, hundreds shows up last night to donate blood.
The Railway Ministry has already ordered an “urgent overhaul of railway and train safety nationwide,” and 21 trains have been suspended.
This tragedy is particularly scary in that the collision was caused by an unplanned power outage on the train, something that has been plaguing the recently opened Shanghai-Beijing line. We can only hope the safety overhauls are both immediate and effective.
Sometimes you see people talking about how authoritarian governments have some kind of advantage over democratic governments in terms of their ability to get things done. News like this should make us re-evaluate that idea. Sure, the rail network is getting built, as per command- but without appropriate safety rules and oversight of the project, exactly what kind of network will they end up with? How safe will it be, how useful will it be, and how long will it last?