Report: China to Suspend High Speed Rail Development

Railway Age reports that Premier Wen of China "has told the state media that the government will suspend approvals of new rail while it conducts safety checks to address concerns rising from the high speed train collision last month that killed 40 people."

The Premier also indicated that high speed rail trains should operate at slower speeds "at their earlier stage of operation." Earlier this year, the Ministry of Railways slowed all trains to a maximum speed of 300 kilometers per hour (186 miles per hour) and many trains that were to operate at that speed were slowed to 250 kilometers per hour (155 miles per hour). At the time, reports indicated that the slower speeds were to lower operating costs so that fares could be reduced. Concerns had been raised about the much higher fares on the new trains and the cancellation of many conventional trains, which had much lower fares. Railway Minister In addition, Sheng Guangzu told the press that the slower operating speeds would "offer more safety."

Photo: Suzhou to Nanjing at 300 kph (by author)