Authorities in China claim a “severe flaw” in the design of signalling equipment was to blame for last weekend’s deadly train crash.
A report by Shanghai Railway Bureau says two high-speed trains collided because a signal should have turned red after a lightning strike, but it was mistakenly green.
But some transport experts believe the problem must lie elsewhere. Professor Sun Zhang from the Urban Mass Transit Railway Research Institute said “the trains’ power supply system is designed to protect itself from such incidents. If lightning is really the cause, it means our current equipment is still fragile.”
Public anger has boiled up in online postings and in at least one organised protest. Around 100 relatives of the passengers killed demonstrated two days ago, calling for greater accountability over the accident.
Government efforts to bar Chinese media from questioning official versions of the accident have fuelled anger and suspicion, especially about the death toll and rescue efforts. The crash killed 39 people and injured nearly 200 others, making it China’s worst train accident since 2008.
The Railway Ministry is still investigating the cause and has ordered a two-month safety review of railway operations.