Bloomberg News

Shanghai Metro Says Power Failure, Controller Error Caused Crash

September 28, 2011

Sept. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Shanghai’s subway operator said a crash that injured 284 people was caused by a power failure and manual error, a day after its chairman blamed the accident on signaling equipment.

Controllers didn’t follow proper procedures after a power shortage disrupted signaling, Shanghai Shentong Metro Co. said in a statement yesterday. An investigation is continuing, it said. Calls to the company went unanswered.

Shanghai Metro will conduct safety inspections and improve training following the Sept. 27 crash, it said. The company’s Chairman Yu Guangyao told reporters hours after the accident that the collision happened because of a fault in equipment made by Alstom SA-backed Casco Signal Ltd.

“The main cause of the accident has no relation with the signaling system,” Philippe Kasse, a spokesman for Levallois- Perret, France-based Alstom, said by e-mail yesterday. Casco Signal, a venture with China Railway Signal & Communication Corp., “can’t be held as responsible,” he said.

Services on Line 10 were shut across a 13-station stretch most of yesterday. Full operations on the track, which opened last year, resumed at 8 p.m., Shanghai Metro said. The company limited train speeds to 45 kilometers (28 miles) an hour.

High-Speed Crash

The accident, two months after a fatal high-speed train crash, has stoked concerns that China’s rapid construction of new transport links comes at the cost of safety. Shanghai’s subway and maglev-train network expanded more than sevenfold in eight years to 453 kilometers because of a growing population and demand during last year’s World Expo.

“This is an alarm bell for the subway system after years of rapid growth,” said Jack Xu, an analyst at Sinopac Securities Asia Ltd. in Shanghai. “Investment in the sector may slow in the near term.”

CSR Corp., which has made subway trains for lines in Shanghai, Nanjing and Guangzhou, fell 4.9 percent to HK$3.08 in Hong Kong trading yesterday. Shanghai Metro climbed 1.3 percent to 8.86 yuan in Shanghai after dropping as much as 4.7 percent. Alstom dropped 4.8 percent to 25.245 euros in Paris trading.

More than 500 people were evacuated from the two metro trains following the crash, Shanghai Metro said Sept. 27. Of the injured, 95 were admitted to hospitals or were under observation, the city health department said in a statement on its website yesterday. No one was in critical condition, it said.

A train on the No. 10 line also ran in the wrong direction on July 28 because of a signaling fault during an upgrade, according to a statement on Shanghai Metro’s website. No one was injured. When a Bloomberg reporter visited the Casco office in Shanghai yesterday, no one answered the door.

In July, a high-speed train crashed into the back of another locomotive near the city of Wenzhou, pushing four carriages of a viaduct and killing 40 people. That accident was caused by a signaling fault following a lightning strike, according to a preliminary government investigation.

--Michael Wei, with assistance from Jenny Jiang, William Bi and Belinda Cao in Beijing and Francois de Beaupuy in Paris. Editors: Neil Denslow, Josh Fellman

To contact Bloomberg News staff for this story: Michael Wei in Shanghai at mwei13@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Neil Denslow at ndenslow@bloomberg.net


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