A collision between two high-speed trains in China in the evening of July 23 killed at least 35 people and injured over 200. C. Custer at ChinaGeeks has written about the government's cover-ups of the tragedy and railway safety issues, and the outrages that are pouring in China's online community.
Since Janaury 2007, there have been 177 rail accidents around the world. Twenty percent (20%) of those accidents happened in the United States and only 4% in China. India, the world’s largest democracy, had 15% of the global rail accidents for the same time period and many killed and injured.
Since most people in China travel by rail, it is expected that when the “rare” rail accident does occur, there will be more lives lost and injured people similar to when a “rare” airline crash takes place.
In fact, if you do a bit of journalistic investigating as I did (BA – 1979 and I taught journalism), you will discover the average number of people traveling daily by train in China is 2.4 million, and in 2008, 1.456 billion people travelled 772.8 billion kilometers by rail. I’m sure that for 2010, more traveled by rail than in 2008.
I’d say the odds are very good that if you travel by rail in China, you will reach your destination on time and without an accident.
So far for 2011, there have been eight rail accidents in the US and only this one in China.
The actual score from 2007 to July 23, 2011 is US 35, India 27 and China 7.