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The bullet train that lost power was traveling south from the Zhejiang provincial capital of Hangzhou and the crash happened in Wenzhou city.

Three top officials at the Shanghai Railway Bureau have been sacked, and state-controlled media have raised questions, especially as rail travel moves hundreds of millions of people a year.

In an editorial entitled ‘Train crash lesson for railway progress,’ the Global Times said the accident should be “a bloody lesson for the entire railway industry in China.”

The newspaper said the collision casts doubt on China’s high-speed railway expansion plans because the country “lacks experience” as it seeks to join the top ranks of railway engineering.

It said China’s high-speed railway has become “the newest target of public criticism,” adding the accident should lead to “safer, not slower, railway transportation.”

China’s transportation authority ordered local departments at an emergency meeting Sunday to launch thorough safety overhauls to “resolutely curb” severe traffic accidents, the official Xinhua News Agency reported. The order follows a number of recent accidents, including a fire on a long-distance bus on Friday that killed 41 people.

CCTV reported Monday that a 2-year-old girl pulled from one of the derailed carriages 21 hours after the crash had undergone a three-hour operation. It said she had suffered lung, kidney and leg injuries and is now in intensive care. Her parents died in the crash.

An official at Saudi Railways Organization, the kingdom’s train network operator, declined to comment on the Chinese crash or whether it might affect the company’s decision to award a part of a lucrative high speed contract to a Chinese company.

“I cannot talk about this,” said Ali Saad al-Karni, vice president for technical affairs at the state-run company. He said only the company’s president could discuss the matter, but he was on vacation and unreachable.

Saudi Railways in 2009 awarded a consortium including China Railway Construction Corp. a $1.8 billion contract for work on a high-speed rail line linking the Muslim holy cities of Mecca and Medina. That deal covers civil engineering work along the planned route, including the construction of bridges and tunnels.

Contracts covering the installation of track and the trains themselves haven’t been awarded yet, though Chinese companies have been prequalified to bid for those deals too.


AP Business Writer Adam Schreck contributed from Dubai.