China's railways ministry has promised to fix problems with power outages and other malfunctions that have plagued the showcase new high-speed line between Beijing and Shanghai since it opened last month.
Railways Ministry spokesman Wang Yongping apologized Thursday in an "online chat" posted on the ministry's website, acknowledging that the 1,318-kilometer (820-mile) line which began commercial operations June 30 has experienced several dozen power outages in the past week.
He appealed for public understanding, saying that summer thunderstorms and winds have caused some of the problems.
The Beijing-Shanghai line was opened to great fanfare on June 30, the eve of the 90th anniversary of the founding of the ruling Communist Party. Its problems are awkward given the trophy project's purpose of demonstrating China's prowess in advanced technology.
The top operational speed for the line's trains is 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph). The speed was cut from the originally planned 350 kph (217 mph) after questions were raised about safety.
On Wednesday, a high-speed train headed to Beijing broke down due to a failure of its transformers, dropping the speed to 160 kph (100 mph) and passengers had to change trains because of concern the slow speed would disrupt the entire line's operations, Wang explained.
"These malfunctions did not cause any major safety risks, but they have truly affected the railway's operation," he said.
The railway will do its best to overcome the problems and operate the trains more smoothly, Wang said.
Despite the troubles, the railway carried an average of 165,000 passengers daily from July 1 to 13, with a peak of 197,000 people, he said.
Official plans call for China's bullet train network to expand to 8,000 miles (13,000 kilometers) of track this year and 10,000 miles (16,000 kilometers) by 2020.