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SW China Earthquake Disrupts Railway Transportation

Monday's strong earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan Province have caused multiple landslides and collapses along railway lines near the provincial capital Chengdu, leaving 180 trains stranded on the rails.

Thirty-one passenger and 149 cargo trains were stranded on the Baoji-Chengdu line, the Chengdu-Kunming line, the Chengdu-Chongqing line and their branch lines linking Chengdu with the rest of the country.

At least 15 cases of landslides and collapses had so far been reported along rail tracks, with 34 railway stations on the Baoji-Chengdu Railway losing power supplies due to the earthquake, Wang Yongping, spokesman of the Ministry of Railways said Monday night.

Wang quoted one case involving the cargo train No. 21043 on the Baoji-Chengdu Railway, which went off the rails and caught fire in a tunnel near Huixian County, in Gansu Province, as the tunnel began to collapse. One man was injured during the incident.

The Railways Ministry has dispatched rescue teams to the No. 21043 train, and sent repair teams to check railway facilities near quake-hit areas.

All trains running near quake-hit areas have been ordered to halt in open areas, and passengers trains heading for quake-hit areas are awaiting orders to turn back.

The quake measuring 7.8 on the Richter scale jolted Wenchuan County,Sichuan Province at 2:28 PM, resulting in more than 8,500 deaths reported so far. The epicenter was about 100 kilometers from the provincial capital.

Tremors were also reported in over half of China's provinces and municipalities, the China Seismological Bureau said.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2008)

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