God/Allah/Buddha/老天爷 has spoken, and it would appear that zhe isn’t too hot on this high-speed rail hullabaloo. The superficially shiny bauble that is the new high-speed rail network could not possibly be faring worse than it is right now, barring any new revelations alleging that the free 5100 Tibetan Spring mineral water given out on high-speed journeys is chock full of the cancer. Another 20 Beijing-Shanghai trains were affected by a power failure yesterday evening, with over 6,000 ornery and jittery passengers delayed for three hours.
The power failure took place in Anhui province’s Dingyuan County (定远县), lasting from 5:30pm to 8:35pm. The latest mishap was blamed on a piece of iron sheeting being lifted by strong winds to wreak havoc on an electricity line. If that isn’t the work of some saboteur on high, then we don’t know what is. After all, China’s ruling technocratic elite pride themselves on their engineering prowess, as opposed to other countries’, who have to put their faith in arguing ninnies.
As per the state directive on emphasizing the positive, Shanghai Daily lets us know that the stranded passengers were taken care of:
The delayed trains began to arrive at Shanghai’s Hongqiao terminal at around 11pm. Shanghai traffic authorities prolonged the running hours of Metro Line 2 till after midnight while more shuttle buses and taxis were brought into service to help passengers get home.
The footage from the number G20 reveals passengers in various modes of undress, fanning themselves with magazines in the dark. No drinking water was available on the train, with one traveler pithily declaring, ‘The high-speed rail is now the rotten rail’ (高铁变烂铁啦).
Oh, and something something about some 3,800 passengers being stranded in Inner Mongolia last night too, after floods destroyed a somewhat necessary bridge. Hey, at least they weren’t high-speed trains! What a relief.