Shanghai-Beijing high-speed rail line faces challenges
China Ministry of Railways spokesman Wang Yongping the operator of the newly opened Shanghai-Beijing high-speed railways is cancelling four services on the line due to low ticket sales, effective 25-Jul-2011 (Shanghai Daily, 23-Jul-2011). The cancelled services operated between Beijing and Jinan City. Around 90% of tickets on some of the trains were unsold while the busiest services had occupancy rates of 40%. Around 64 pairs of bullet trains ride between Beijing and Jinan. The number of carriages will also be reduced from 16 to eight on some services. Mr Wang stated it would take two to three months for the new rail line to complete its "break-in" period. "Challenges lie ahead," said Mr Wang, adding the operations could be affected by the system's complex technology and the weather. Meanwhile, at least 32 passengers have been confirmed dead and 191 are injured following a high-speed rail crash on 23-Jul-2011 in Zhejiang Province as two trains collided. The first train had become disabled when a lightning strike took out power on the train (Xinhua, 23-Jul-2011).