(Yicai Global) July 1 -- A bullet train came to a screeching halt in China after the vapors from a lady passenger's sunscreen triggered its emergency brake on June 26.
Tardy trains are always trying, and though this incensing incident delayed the train for only three minutes, later ones were also affected in a chain-reaction, Zhengzhou Evening News reported.
As the train, bound for Anyang from Zhengzhou -- both in China's East-Central Henan province -- slowed approaching a small way station, the crew heard a fire alarm from a washroom smoke detector sound, which automatically triggered the emergency brake. They went to the affected carriage and there discovered a lady applying sun cream in the commode, per the report.
The crew braved the saccharin scent to check the lavatory, but found no towering conflagration, only this overpowering lotion.
The sickly-sweet aroma had so overwhelmed the smoke detector that it had gone haywire and tripped to red alert, thus activating the train's emergency brake, they concluded, before beating a hasty retreat from the cloying coconut oil cloud.
Though the train was detained only three minutes, an official from the Zhengzhou railway bureau said, even such a short delay can be serious for the high-speed trains as the interval between two during peak hours is only five minutes, and any unscheduled stop may therefore cause domino delays for other choo-choos.
This event may well thus have inconvenienced tens of thousands of other travelers.
China has the world's longest network of high-speed rails at 15,500 kilometers (9,631 miles). Spain, boasting the world's second-largest, comes in at a mere 3,100 kilometers, Business Insider reported.
The country's electric multiple unit trains snake across the landscape at speeds of up to 350 kilometers per hour (189 miles per hour) like supercharged centipedes on steroids, each car under its own motive power. Their punctuality and affordability are the stuff of legend. They transport 1.5 billion riders per year.
Yicai Global incorrectly reported June 29 that the lady's spray perfume had triggered the alarm.
Editor: Ben Armour