Shanghai railway authorities covered up fatal accident: report

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 12:02pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 December, 2013, 12:02pm

A freight train killed 3 railroad workers and injured another two near Ningbo, Zhejiang province on December 24, the business magazine Caixin Century Weekly has reported.

The train, under the administration of the Shanghai Railway Bureau, was travelling from Hangzhou to Ningbo when it hit five workers on the tracks between the cities of Shaoxing and Yuyao.

This is the second railway accident with multiple fatalities in a month, after a high-speed train hit five railroad workers in the northeastern city of Shenyang on November 22, killing four.

However, a week after the fatal accident, the Shanghai Railway Bureau had not made any public disclosure nor issued any internal report about it, said the story, published on Caixin's website on Monday afternoon. The bureau had only verbally informed some staff members, with no details such as the time and cause of the accident, the magazine quoted bureau workers as saying.

It quoted an anonymous "insider" working on the Ningbo section of the railway as saying that since roadwork is only allowed to be carried out during the window period between passing trains, either the five workers violated safety protocol by working outside the window, or the freight train had entered the window without proper permission. In either case, railway officials would be responsible for management or coordination failure.

The Shenyang accident last month happened when the high-speed passenger train came about 20 minutes behind schedule and hit the workers on the tracks carrying out repair work. The Shenyang Railway Bureau issued an internal notice of the accident on the day, which was widely reported by media outlets, giving rise to national outcry over railway safety standards.

Calls to the China Railway Corporation, which operates the country’s railways, were not answered on Tuesday morning.