The Hong Kong government has set up an independent panel led by engineering experts to “closely oversee” an MTR Corporation review of its operations after two major railway incidents in the space of three weeks.
The government said it was “deeply concerned” and that the panel would ensure the review by the train operator was “comprehensive, in-depth, sound and thorough”, a spokesman for the Transport and Logistics Bureau said on Friday.
“The panel will submit a report to the secretary for transport and logistics upon completion of the relevant review, and make recommendations on matters relating to railway safety regulation so as to maintain the safety and reliability of railway services in Hong Kong,” he said.
The move came after incidents on December 5 and November 13 caused a suspension of rail services on two lines.
Around 1,500 passengers were forced to evacuate through a tunnel after a train on the Tseung Kwan O line suffered a mechanical failure on December 5.
The line was closed for several hours as the train was removed and commuters were left to scramble for buses.
MTR Corp later said preliminary investigations found that the North Point-bound train had ground to a halt in the tunnel as it approached Tseung Kwan O station after couplings between two carriages failed and triggered the emergency brake.
The front carriage of a train derailed on November 13 after it hit a displaced metal fence at the side of the tracks as the train pulled into Yau Ma Tei station.