Negligence cited in subway accident

Updated: 2011-10-08 08:14

By Wu Yiyao (China Daily)

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SHANGHAI - Negligence, breaches of regulations and the faulty installation of backup power systems caused the subway crash in September, and 12 people responsible for it have been punished, investigators said on Thursday.

On September 27, a Line 10 train smashed into another one that was stopped between Laoximen and Yuyuan stations in the afternoon after a signal failed. There were no deaths, but 295 people were injured, and as of Oct 7, about 70 remained hospitalized.

Line 10 is one of the newest in the Shanghai subway system.

The investigative team's report, released on Thursday, said the immediate cause of the accident was errors made after the subway's electronic signaling system failed due to a power loss and drivers were forced to operate trains with signaling by phone.

About 40 minutes before the accident, construction at Xintiandi station - just next to Yuyuan station, where the accident occurred - caused a power loss to the signaling system.

The automatic train control monitor failed to function and was switched to manual control, according to the report.

Subway operators then directed trains by phone. One ordered a train to stop in the tunnel between Laoximen and Yuyuan, and another ordered a train to head toward the one that had stopped. When the driver saw the stationary train, he tried unsuccessfully to brake and crashed at 35 kilometers an hour into it.

The subway dispatcher did not accurately know where the trains were when the phone orders were given, which is a breach of regulations, while the workers on duty at the station agreed to receive the order against rules, which directly led to the train crash, according to the report.

The dispatcher was suspended and the administrator on duty was given demerits. Ten others who bore responsibility in the accident were also punished.

Tang Zhihua, chief dispatcher of the Line 10 operation control center, Kuo Kang, deputy manager of the dispatch control center of Line 10, and Zhu Limin, deputy director of the dispatch department of Shentong Group - operator of the subway line - were dismissed, according to the Shanghai Administration of Work Safety.

Yu Guangyao, president of Shentong Group and Ying Minhong, the Shentong Group chairman, were given demerits.

The accident has put Shanghai Metro into one of its hardest times, and all the employees must work harder to earn the forgiveness and support of passengers, a press release from Shanghai Metro said.

Passengers said the accident has cast a shadow on their daily commute.

"Human errors are easily neglected, and this was not the first accident on the Shanghai subway caused by human error. Who knows when there will be another?" said Li Cheng, a Shanghai resident who takes subway Line 10 twice a day.

A staff member at the South Shaanxi Road station who spoke on condition of anonymity said Line 10 passenger flow was not significantly less when operation resumed after the accident.

More than 7 million people passengers took subway trains on Oct 1.

China Daily

(China Daily 10/08/2011 page4)