After July train collision in high-speed lines, which killed 40 people, ticket sales for the bullet trains linking Shanghai with Beijing and Nanjing will be suspended while schedules are reorganized, the Shanghai Railway Bureau said last Thursday.
It said the suspension affects tickets for departures starting next Tuesday and gave no indication when it would end. If your tickets are among those you may get trouble when you reach railway station.
China's railway minister announced the moratorium on new rail projects Wednesday on the cabinet website and promised a nationwide safety inspection. He also announced further speed reductions in the top speed of bullet trains following cuts in April.
The announcement adds to signs Beijing is scaling back plans that called for expanding the high-speed network to 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) of track by the end of this year and 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) by 2020.
The system is a prestige project for the country and is meant to showcase China's growing technological prowess. But the July 23 crash made it a target for complaints about the human cost of recklessly fast development. And some manufacturers will also suspend production of its trains while it is going to investigate equipment failures.
There was no indication the production halt was linked to the crash near the southern city of Wenzhou. Authorities blamed that disaster on a lightning strike that caused one train to stall and a sensor failure that allowed a second train to keep moving on the same track and slam into it.
China has the world's biggest train network, with 56,000 miles (91,000 kilometers) of passenger rail. Trains are overloaded with passengers and cargo, and critics say the money would be better spent expanding cheaper, slower routes.
In the speed cuts announced Wednesday, the minister said second-tier trains scheduled to run at 155 mph (250 kph) will slow to 125 mph (200 kph).
In April, the top speed of the fastest lines was reduced from 220 mph (350 kph) to 190 mph (300 kph) after Chinese railway researchers warned the planned speeds were dangerously fast and would waste energy.