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  • Tuesday, July 22, 2014
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Signal maker Casco widely blamed for Shanghai Metro crash

  • Claire Sung and Staff Reporter
  • 2011-09-29
  • 16:19 (GMT+8)
An evening on the Shanghai Metro, the day after the crash. (File Photo.CFP)

An evening on the Shanghai Metro, the day after the crash. (File Photo.CFP)

Tuesday's crash on Shanghai Metro Line 10 injured 284 passengers and has cast a spotlight on the maker of the subway's signaling system, Casco Signal, whose widespead projects in China — 28 in total — have given rise to concerns that such mishaps may occur again.

Casco's signal systems are used across China and other countries, including Iran. In Beijing and Shanghai alone Casco is involved in 20 projects, including lines 1 and 10 of the Shanghai Metro.

This was not the first time the signal maker was at fault for a signaling error. On July 28, on the same subway line in Shanghao as Tuesday's collision, Casco's signal misdirected a train to the wrong station, which could have resulted in a rear-end collision.

The signal maker at that time assured the public, for whom the deadly Wenzhou high-speed train disaster of a few days earlier was still fresh in their minds, that "no rear-end collision will ever occur on Shanghai's railway."

The signal maker has declined to comment on the fact that less than two months later its promise has been proven false.

A statement posted on Casco's official website cited the government's investigation report, saying the latest disruption of its signaling system was the result of a sudden power failure. When the signal was switched into manual operation mode, staff apparently failed to follow standard operating procedures, which then led to the collision.

According to the 21st Century Economic Report, Casco, established in 1986, is a joint venture of China Railway Signal and Communication and the French industrial conglomerate Alstom, indicating the signal maker's strong financial backing. Alstom owns a 50% stake of Casco.

Despite the subway system's claim that the incident was caused by a power failure and manual error, Sun Zhang, professor at Shaghai's Tongji University, said the subway collision must be the result of a signaling error.

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