BEIJING - China's railway sector saw its fixed-asset investment down in the January-July period from a year earlier, the first such decrease this year, the state newspaper reported Wednesday.
The data was released at a time when a deadly high-speed train crash has put the country's rapid rail development under scrutiny.
Railway fixed-asset investment slipped 1.5 percent year-on-year in the first seven months to 322.4 billion yuan (50.4 billion U.S. dollars), the People's Daily cited Ministry of Railways' (MOR) data.
Of the total, 283.4 billion yuan went to infrastructure construction, down 2.5 percent year-on-year, according to the report.
In contrast, fixed-asset investment in the first six months rose 2.7 percent year-on-year with infrastructure investment up 3.1 percent, according to MOR statistics.
Calculation of those figures showed railway fixed-asset investment slumped 21.8 percent year-on-year in July alone, while infrastructure investment plunged 26.1 percent year-on-year.
China has ordered safety checks on high-speed railways and slower operational speeds after high-speed trains on a line near the eastern city of Wenzhou collided on July 23, leaving 40 people dead and 191 injured.
Vice Premier Zhang Dejiang on Tuesday urged a thorough overhaul of China's high-speed railways to prevent major accidents.
China plans to invest 2.8 trillion yuan in the railway sector in the 2011-2015 period during which the length of its high-speed railways are expected to expand to 45,000 km.