Chinese state media say bullet train derails

July 23, 2011 - 11:30 AM
APTOPIX China Train Crash

Emergency workers and people work to help passengers from the wreckage of train after two carriages from a high-speed train derailed and fell off a bridge in Wenzhou in east China's Zhejiang province Saturday July 23, 2011. A Chinese news agency says there is no immediate word on casualties. (AP Photo) CHINA OUT

BEIJING (AP) — A bullet train derailed in eastern China on Saturday and two of its carriages fell off a bridge, but there was no immediate word on casualties, state media reported.

The high-speed train was traveling from the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou when the accident happened in Wenzhou city at about 8:30 p.m. (1230 GMT), the official Xinhua News Agency said.

Rescue personnel rushed to the scene but details on casualties were not immediately known, Xinhua said.

Pictures on the Internet in China showed one carriage on the ground and another standing on its end and leaning against the bridge.

Xinhua did not say what caused the accident.

China has spent billions and plans more massive spending to link the country with a high-speed rail network. Recently, power outages and other malfunctions have plagued the showcase new high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai since it opened last month.

The train that crashed was a "D'' train, which was the first generation bullet train with an average speed of about 95 miles (150 kilometers) per hour and not as fast at the Beijing-Shanghai line that opened June 30.

Official plans call for China's bullet train network to expand to 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) of track this year and 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) by 2020.

The huge spending connected with the rail expansion also has been blamed for corruption, and Railways Minister Liu Zhijun was dismissed this spring amid an investigation into unspecified corruption allegations.

No details have been released about the allegations against him, but news reports say they include kickbacks, bribes, illegal contracts and sexual liaisons.