Saturday, December 31, 2011

54 people to be punished over July's fatal train crash

Liu Zhijun, the country's former railway minister, and Zhang Shuguang, the railway ministry's deputy chief engineer, are among the 54.

Both were removed from office over an alleged "severe violation of discipline" earlier this year.

Liu and Zhang, together with Ma Cheng, chairman of board at China Railway Signal and Communication Corp.(CRSC), producer of the the railway signaling system, were chiefly responsible for the crash, according to the State Council.

On July 23, a high-speed train rammed into a stalled train near the city of Wenzhou in the eastern province of Zhejiang, leaving 40 people dead and 172 injured.

According to a final investigation report, the train crash was caused by major design flaws in train operating equipment, relaxed safety controls and poor emergency response to equipment failure.

A lightning strike caused train D3115 lose power and a signaling failure led train D301 to rear-end D3115, said the final report released Wednesday.

Police and prosecutors are independently investigating into whether the accident constitutes a crime, the State Council said.

The accident has also exposed that the Ministry of Railway(MOR) and the Shanghai Railway Bureau had failed to act properly after the accident and were unable to disclose relevant information on issues of social concern, leaving a negative social influence, said the report.