The reduction of service speeds on high-speed-rail lines from this week was largely a gesture to pacify the public since the trains seldom ran at full speed anyway, says a scholar on the expert panel investigating last month's deadly crash in Wenzhou. Wang Mengshu, a railways expert and fellow of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, said that although officials had previously said trains on the Beijing-Tianjin and Beijing-Shanghai lines would reach a top speed of 350km/h, trains actually ran at between 270km/h and 310km/h. So the announcement that they would not exceed 300km/h would make almost no difference to journey times. Wang said: 'It will barely affect the time it takes to travel from Beijing to Tianjin or Shanghai because the length of the trip was calculated according to a 300km/h speed in the first place, though the maximum speed was announced to be 350km/h.' According to new schedules on the Ministry of Railways customer service website, a trip by high-speed train between Shanghai and Beijing still takes around five hours, and a trip between Beijing and Tianjin takes a mere three minutes longer than before. Wang, deputy head of the expert panel, also said that the 54 trains recalled by manufacturer China CNR Corporation last week had no major technical defects that could lead to accidents, just a few glitches that might only cause minor problems. 'The main problems lie in the management of the rail system and the training of personnel who operate it, as we found many of them still weren't familiar with adjusting speeds,' he said. In another move to assuage public anger after the July 23 crash in Wenzhou, in which more than 40 people were killed and nearly 200 injured, the Ministry of Railways announced on Tuesday the dismissal of spokesman Wang Yongping . Xinhua released a one-sentence report on the removal of Wang without giving an explanation. However, it is widely believed that he was dismissed for inappropriate remarks he made at a press conference the day after the accident, which angered many people and resulted in the public mocking him heavily. Wang, the ministry's first spokesman, held the post for eight years. He will be transferred to the Chinese committee of the Organisation for Co-operation of Railways in Warsaw, Poland, the People's Daily reported online yesterday. The party secretary of the Harbin Railways Bureau, Han Jiangping, would become the new spokesman, the paper reported, citing a ministry source. The organisation comprises railway ministries from 13 countries, mostly socialist or former socialist countries in Europe and Asia. It promotes co-operation in the development of rail transport.