China’s high-speed rail project suffered yet another major jolt on Friday after officials recalled 54 bullet trains being used on the much publicised Beijing-Shanghai line over safety concerns.

The China Railway, which operates the fastest CRH 380BL trains capable of logging 350-kmph between the two cities, said it had sought the recall of the 54 trains from the Railway Ministry due to “flaws” in their automatic braking systems.

The Beijing-based company previously decided to suspend the delivery of its CRH 380BL trains, as it said the trains have flaws in their automatic braking systems, the government-run Xinhua news agency reported.

A spokesman for the China Railway blamed quality defects in outsourced parts and components for the problem without elaborating where the parts and components came from.

He also said the company will speed up an overhaul of its products in cooperation with its suppliers to put the trains back on the country’s railways.

It is a major set back for the much-hyped rail projects which suffered a set back after the crash of two bullet trains on July 23 in which 40 people were killed and 200 injured.

Two days ago, it ordered fast trains to cut down their speed so as to give priority to safety concerns.

The government also ordered for re-evaluation of the safety systems of rail projects that have been approved but yet to start construction and to suspend the examination or approval of newly proposed projects.

China has planned to build a 13,000-km high-speed railway network by 2012, 16,000-km by 2020.

Plans are afoot to increase the speed of the trains to 500 kmph, radically reducing travel time between the cities.