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The front of a train being tested on a subway line in Kunming, Yunnan province, was wrecked in an accident that killed one driver and injured another. Zhou Mingjia / for China Daily
Tests on a new subway line in Yunnan province have been halted after a train derailed and killed a driver on Tuesday, local authorities said.
But the scheduled opening of the line on Feb 6 will not be affected by the accident.
The tragedy happened at 9:09 am on Tuesday near Dounan Station on Line 1, a new subway line in Kunming, capital of Yunnan.
The derailed subway train killed one driver and injured another, according to the Kunming Rail Transit Co, a State-owned company responsible for the construction and administration of Kunming's subway.
No passengers were on board at the time of the crash.
The test runs will not resume before an investigation report is complete, the company said.
"Normal operation of the new subway line will not be affected by the incident," said Xiang Haoxu, deputy head of Kunming Rail Transit Co, on Wednesday.
Kunming's first subway, Line 6, opened in July 2012, and the southern section of Line 1, where the accident happened, was scheduled to open on Feb 6, four days before Spring Festival.
The train began a three-month test run on Nov 5.
The injured driver, Chen Junmin, 19, from Yiliang county, was taken to a hospital, said Gong Qingping, a publicity official at Kunming Rail Transit.
Chen could walk and was in good health, according to a statement from the subway company.
The death of the driver was caused by an air conditioner falling in the operation cab after the derailment, the statement said.
An employee named Chen said he heard a big bang and watched the derailment as it occurred. He then saw that the subway car's left side was damaged badly.
Police and subway security guards blocked the site, and the two drivers were removed from the car by emergency workers, Chen said.
A China Daily reporter found the damaged train about 500 meters away from the Dounan Station, which was surrounded by police cordon.
The train had a large hole in the front, and steel plates and other small debris were scattered along the subway tunnel.
The train derailed when it rounded a curve and collided with an oblong object on the track, Chen Junmin, the injured driver, told China Central Television on Wednesday.
Zhang Yanbing, an engineer from Beijing MTR Construction Administration Corp, said that she believed the derailment was not related to the train quality or the signal system if the train hit a foreign object on the track.
"The environment the subway operates in is a factor that is difficult to control. The subway company should clear the tracks along the subway line," Zhang said on Wednesday.
An investigation team has been established and the Kunming government has asked the subway company to release the investigation report to the public in a timely manner.
"Now the priority is to check the cause of the accident and fix the problems," Xiang Haoxu said.
Line 1's trial runs will be rescheduled after the investigation report is released on Thursday or Friday, Xiang said.
Eight deaths and 20 injuries, including the Kunming case, have been reported in subway projects in China since Dec 31.
On Jan 2, two workers died and another was injured after a subway tunnel under construction collapsed in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region.
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(China Daily 01/10/2013 page4)