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Chinese manufacturer pulls bullet trains over 'flaws'

12 august 2011, 14:53
0
Railway employee stands next to a high speed train at Beijing south railway station, China. ©AFP
Railway employee stands next to a high speed train at Beijing south railway station, China. ©AFP
A state-owned Chinese train manufacturer said Friday it is recalling 54 bullet trains being used on a new high-speed rail link between Beijing and Shanghai because of "flaws", AFP reports.

The statement by China CNR Corp came a day after Beijing said it was suspending approval of new railway projects, and underlines the scale of concern over the safety of high-speed rail after a fatal crash last month.

"China CNR Corp ... is recalling 54 CRH380BL bullet trains produced by our subsidiaries that are already in operation to systematically analyse causes of flaws," the firm said in a statement filed with the Shanghai bourse.

The recall would allow it to "conduct an overhaul to ensure their quality and safety," said the statement, which was approved by the railway ministry.

Earlier this week, the company announced that the ministry had ordered it to halt shipments of the same model of trains after problems caused a series of delays on the Beijing-Shanghai fast link.

The company said in the earlier statement an automatic braking system installed in the trains had caused the delays on the high-profile Beijing-Shanghai line, which was built at a cost of $33 billion.

The trains, which were made by CNR unit Changchun Railway Vehicles Co, were installed with sensors that sent alerts to automatically slow the train down, it said.

Media reports said the system was causing trains to slow or stop unnecessarily.

Last month's collision outside east China's Wenzhou city killed 40 people and sparked a public outcry amid allegations the government had disregarded safety in its rush to develop the world's biggest high-speed rail system.

CNR's announcement comes less than two months after the launch of the high-speed link between China's capital and the country's commercial hub, Shanghai, on June 30, attended by Premier Wen Jiabao.

The recall will affect around a quarter of services on the new line, which has suffered a series of delays and power cuts since its launch, according to a report in Friday's 21st Century Business Herald.

The report quoted a spokesman for China CNR Corp as saying the trains were being recalled due to glitches in some components and said the company would share the costs with its suppliers, including Germany's Siemens.

Trading of China CNR Corp's stocks was suspended on Thursday, according to a statement on the Shanghai stock exchange, and had not resumed by Friday morning.

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