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December 23, 2009

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Stuck passengers tell of long wait

Thousands of Metro Line 1 passengers yesterday had one key thing in common - they were stranded on packed train No. 150 for more than four hours after a collision.

"Everything happened in a flash," said passenger Joseph Huang, 28.

Huang was in the train's first carriage which ran off the track after the impact.

"There was a long silence after the crash," he said. "Except for making phone calls, either to relatives or bosses, passengers seldom spoke to each other but seemed calm."

A train driver showed up about 30 minutes after the accident.

With a loudspeaker in hand, the driver moved from carriage to carriage in a bid to comfort passengers, urging them to stay put.

It was about another 90 minutes before commuters saw the first emergency personnel and police officers.

"We stayed there like fools," said a passenger, surnamed Xu, who was in a carriage in the middle.

Xu and 14 family members, including his 86-year-old mother, were on their way to attend the burial service for a relative yesterday, the customary Winter Solstice time for tomb visits and sweeping.

"I was really worried about my mother after such a long wait," a teary Xu said. "All we got was a letter of apology and the issue of compensation was not mentioned."

The subject of toilet breaks was one that passengers preferred not to discuss.


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