x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

China bullet train derails, sending two carriages plunging off bridge

No word was immediately available on casualties but Xinhua said the capacity of each car on the train was about 100 passengers.

BEIJING // A Chinese high-speed train derailed on Saturday with two of its carriages falling off a bridge, the official Xinhua news agency reported, saying casualty numbers were not immediately known.

The train was travelling between the cities of Hangzhou and Wenzhou in eastern China's Zhejiang province when it went off the rails around 8:30pm (1230 GMT), it reported, citing local firefighting sources.

It said the train's number was D3115 and the accident occurred in Wenzhou's Shuangyu Town.

No word was immediately available on casualties but Xinhua said the capacity of each car on the train was about 100 passengers.

The accident occurred less than a month after China inaugurated with great fanfare a new flagship $33 billion line from Beijing to Shanghai that halves the rail journey time between the two Chinese cities to five hours.

It was opened on the eve of July 1 celebrations to mark the 90th birthday of China's Communist Party and authorities touted it as yet another symbol of the country's growing advancement.

However, the new Beijing-Shanghai line has suffered problems with delays caused by power outages, sparking a slew of criticism online and in Chinese media.

China has poured money into a massive rail expansion but the huge investments have made the sector a hotbed for corruption, and raised concerns over costs and whether corners were being cut on rail safety.

China's state auditor has said construction companies and individuals last year siphoned off 187 million yuan ($29 million) from the Beijing-Shanghai project.