Impact: Section of China high-speed rail Collapses after Rains image

A section of an unopened high-speed railway collapsed in central China following heavy rains, state media reported, jolting railroad shares and reviving worries over safety.

The stretch, which had undergone test runs, is part of a line due to open in May.

No casualties were reported, but hundreds of workers were said to be rushing to repair the 300-metre stretch of line near Qianjiang city in Hubei province after Friday’s collapse.

– Update About 7 kilometers (4 1/2 miles) of track were being removed after it sank at points where the line runs across a floodplain, the official Xinhua News Agency reported Tuesday.

The failed line is part of the 181-mile long Hanyi High-Speed Railway, linking the provincial capital Wuhan and Yichang city, according to Xinhua.

The owner of the line, Hu Han Rong Railway Hubei Co., denied the collapse, according to cnhubei.com, a state-backed local news portal.

While the Xinhua reports also blamed heavy rains as the main trigger, some of the engineers had complained of a sloppy construction method used by builders on another section of the same line, with soil substituted for rocks in the railway bed.

Authorities slowed expansion of the multibillion-dollar bullet train system following the July 23 crash near Wenzhou, in southeastern China. It was triggered by a lightning strike, though a government probe also blamed faulty signal systems and missteps by train operators.

The crash badly undermined the high-speed rail project and triggered a public outcry over the costs and dangers of the bullet train system.

Shares in China Railway Construction Corp. Ltd were down more than seven percent in Hong Kong on Monday, with China Railway Group Ltd losing more than five percent.