JINAN -- Six people stood trial Thursday at a special court of east China's Shandong Province for a fatal train collision that killed 72 passengers April last year.
Qingdao railway transportation procuratorate brought public charges against the six railway workers at a Jinan railway transportation court.
Local procurators did not reveal how long the trial will last. But Song Lijun, a legal expert in Beijing, said it would take one month or six weeks at most to complete trials on a public charge.
The defendants are Guo Jiguang, former deputy head of Jinan Railway Bureau, Li Zhenjiang, Cui Heguang, Zhang Fasheng, Pu Xiaojun and Zheng Richeng. Two of the defendants were train dispatchers and the other three were a rail station watcher, an assistant watcher and a train driver.
The six, detained May last year, were charged with affecting the safety of railway operation.
Penalties for negligence leading to death, serious injuries and heavy losses of public or private properties can carry a jail term of three to seven years, according to China's Criminal Law.
T195, a high-speed train from Beijing to the coastal city of Qingdao, derailed and crashed into another train in Zibo's Zhoucun District on April 28, 2008, leaving 72 dead and another 416 injured.
The accident is the worst train accident in China's railway system in a decade.
Investigators said the train T195 was traveling at a speed much higher than the speed limit on that section of the track, partly because the driver had not been informed of the speed limit.
Fifty people were allowed to attend the open trial, but the date for sentencing remains unknown.