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Rail lines linking Sichuan in 'state of emergency' after quake
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The Ministry of Railways (MOR) has imposed a state of emergency for trains linking Sichuan with other provinces, following the 7.8-magnitude earthquake on Monday that has claimed at least 9,219 lives.

Two trains were halted between Beijing and Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, where the quake struck. The trains returned to their departure points on Monday afternoon, according to the MOR.

Other rail services between the two cities and between Panzhihua, also in Sichuan, and Beijing, have been suspended for safety reasons, MOR said.

Railways Minister Liu Zhijun called for detours and sufficient food and drinking water supplies for trains delayed by the quake. Security should be guaranteed and efforts should be taken to calm riders, Liu added.

The ministry ordered all branches in charge of rail transportation to step up supervision of trains in operation.

Railway employees and the police have begun an overall examination of operating trains, equipment and buildings to ensure safety.

(Xinhua News Agency May 13, 2008)

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