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Railways transport 14,000 soldiers to quake-hit area
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The Ministry of Railways (MOR) said on Wednesday that 14,000 soldiers had so far been transported by 25 military trains to the quake-stricken Sichuan Province.

Trains carrying 416 carriages of disaster-relief materials including 55,935 tents, 283 carriages of fuel and 12 carriages of food, were en route to the province, said the ministry.

Traffic on the lines interrupted by Monday's powerful southwest China earthquake had all resumed as of 4 p.m. on Tuesday, except on the Baoji-Chengdu railway.

The Baoji-Chengdu railway was still cut by a landslide in a tunnel in Huixian County, Gansu Province, as well as some bridge displacements and damage to the line, said MOR spokesman Wang Yongping.

More than 1,000 workers were repairing the damaged rail line, but it was unknown when traffic would resume, said the Xi'an Railway Bureau.

The tunnel collapse caused a blaze on a 40-car freight train, which included 13 tankers full of gasoline, on Monday.

The train was still burning on Tuesday, 25 hours after it derailed and caught fire. Local authorities said fire-fighters, who had moved six kilometers away from the site fearing the tankers could explode, had resumed efforts to extinguish the fire.

A field team to oversee railway repairs has been set up to organize the repair work and coordinate rescue efforts, with Lu Chunfang, Vice Minister of Railways, as the head.

The quake stranded 180 trains on lines leading to Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province, due to multiple landslides and collapses near Chengdu following the 7.8-magnitude quake.

Wang said earlier that 787 passengers aboard train K291 from Shanghai to Chengdu on the Baoji-Chengdu railway had been transferred to 20 minibuses on Tuesday morning.

(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2008)

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