Quoted the article:
At least 66 passengers have died in China's worst rail crash for more than a decade, the official state media reported this morning.
Another 400 travellers were injured, 70 critically, after a high-speed train from Beijing to the seaside resort of Qingdao jumped the tracks in the early hours and hit a second train. Ten of its carriages plunged into a ditch.
The second train, heading from nearby Yantai to Jiangsu province, was also
derailed in the collision, which took place in a rural area outside Zibo city, in Shandong.
There was no early indication of what caused the accident, which took place at a bend in the tracks.
But within hours, the authorities had sacked the former director and party secretary of the Jinan railway bureau. The state media said they were under investigation by the ministry of railways.
The local Qilu evening news said the railway began operating a new timetable last week, while state television said the line, built in 1897, was due to be retired ahead of the Olympics in favour of a high-speed link. Qingdao is to host the sailing events.
The crash is the second major rail accident in Shandong province this year after some 18 workers were killed by a high-speed train as they maintained a stretch of track near the city of Anqiu.
It is China's worst since 1997, when more than 100 people were killed in a
collision in the central province of Hunan.
But the Chinese railway system is generally regarded as having a good safety record, particularly given the strains imposed on it by the large volume of travellers and freight. Last year it carried 1.36 billion passengers - only slightly behind India's record.
Most of those on board would have been asleep when the accident occurred, at 4.40am (11.40pm BST).
News photographs showed rescuers pulling passengers from a carriage that had fallen on its side. Survivors bundled in white bedsheets stood or sat near the wreckage.
One 38-year-old passenger told the state news agency, Xinhua, she and her
13-year-old daughter had escaped through a large crack in the floor of their carriage.
"We were still sleeping when the accident occurred," she said. "I suddenly woke up when I felt the train stopped with a jolt. In a minute or two, it started off again, but soon toppled."
Xinhua said bloodstained sheets and broken thermos flasks could be seen on
the ground beside the wrecks of the carriages.
A doctor at the emergency clinic of the Zibo centre hospital said all the major hospitals in the Zibo area were treating the injured.
The railways minister, Liu Zhijun, reached the site early in the morning. Xinhua said the president, Hu Jintao, had also sent the vice-premier, Zhang Dejiang, to the scene. It added that officials had set up nine hotels and 34 rescue centres to help victims and their families.
The accident will put extra strain on the rail system as it enters the busy May Day holiday period, and has already led to some delays, rail workers reported.
China has invested some £50bn in its railways over the past few years, and is expanding and upgrading the system.
This is very sad.