The first of the new safety initiatives involves stepping up safety checks on new lines currently under construction to ensure that construction meets the correct standards, and that staff are adequately trained. The State Administration of Safety Work will report back to China's State Council.

Secondly, the maximum speed and the number of trains operated will be increased gradually when new lines open to accumulate operating safety experience and to guarantee safe operation of all systems. In future, a standard set of procedures for opening new lines will be established.
Finally, the approval of new railway construction projects is being suspended while the safety assessment process is reorganised and technical standards and construction programmes determined. Nevertheless the State Council stresses: "China will unswervingly continue to develop high-speed rail."

In addition, China's railway minister, Mr Sheng Guangzhou announced that train operating speed will be reduced below the design speed of lines, so trains on a line designed for 350km/h will run at 300km/h, on a 250km/h line they will be restricted to 200km/h, and on a 200km/h line the maximum operating speed will be 160km/h. As a result, fares will be reduced to compensate passengers for longer journey times.

"We feel deep guilt and sorrow about the tragic loss of life and property in the accident," says the minister. "The accident exposed weaknesses in rail safety, the emergency management of major accidents, and a lack of experience - the lessons are profound."

Meanwhile, CNR has temporarily suspended delivery of its CRH380B high-speed trains until it has rectified a fault in an automatic safety system which has resulted in delays to train services on the new Beijing - Shanghai high-speed line.