Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Wednesday, Feb 01, 2023

Supplier helps Hong Kong’s MTR Corp to find cause of fault that stranded passengers

Supplier helps Hong Kong’s MTR Corp to find cause of fault that stranded passengers

Technical team for European coupler supplier has arrived in Hong Kong to investigate cause of incident, MTR Corporation says.

Hong Kong’s rail operator has pledged to work with its European coupler supplier to get to the bottom of what caused the mechanical failure which forced 1,500 passengers to evacuate through a tunnel earlier this week.

Tony Lee Kar-yun, operations director for the MTR Corporation, on Thursday apologised again for the fault, which he said was caused by the loosening of a buffer connecting two carriages that automatically triggered the emergency brake.

“Based on our preliminary investigation, we’ve identified that at the time of the incident, the fail-safe protection system was triggered and stopped the train,” he said.

“And the gangway [between the carriages] was found extended due to an energy absorption device inside the couplers being found loosened. But the gangway and the couplers remained intact and connected to the carriages.”

Tony Lee, operations director for the MTR Corp, provides a detailed explanation of Monday’s incident.

Lee’s apology came after the rail giant submitted an interim report on Monday’s incident to the government, covering the initial cause of the failure and its follow-up action. It is expected to deliver the results of a full investigation in two months’ time.

“The technical team of the coupler’s European supplier has arrived in Hong Kong and we will work together to investigate the root cause, covering several aspects such as the train’s operation, the materials of the device, its maintenance process and environmental factors,” he said.

Lee assured commuters the rail firm had checked similar coupler installations across the network and the supplier had confirmed that they were safe and sound in other trains.

The malfunction on Monday forced the evacuation of commuters through a tunnel for the second time in less than a month, triggering fresh calls by unions and lawmakers for the MTR Corp to bolster its maintenance and hire more frontline workers or face stiffer penalties for breakdowns in the future.

The train departing Lohas Park station came to a stop as it approached Tseung Kwan O station at around 8.30am and forced a service suspension on part of the line until the vehicle was removed from the tracks about four hours later.

Two passengers felt unwell during the incident, and hundreds of others scrambled for alternative transport to finish their journey to work or school during the morning rush hour. Many complained about unclear instructions and long waits for buses.

It was the second rail incident in four weeks following last month’s episode where a train hit a dislodged metal fence next to the track while pulling into Yau Ma Tei station, ripping off doors and derailing a carriage.

Service was disrupted on part of the Tsuen Wan line for the rest of the day while passengers were put in danger when they left the carriages via an emergency exit and walked along the tracks in a dark tunnel before traffic was halted.

The MTR Corp had earlier pledged to carry out a comprehensive review of its asset management and maintenance regime, with lawmakers again questioning whether the company was suffering from a systemic problem.

Lee stressed that the rail staff had followed the supplier’s maintenance instructions but admitted the transport operator was facing a shortage of maintenance workers.

“The manpower shortage has presented a great challenge to us. We’ve never stopped hiring people,” he said. “We’ve made arrangements to allocate more resources and manpower to provide maintenance services including the use of advanced technology.”

Lee said the MTR Corp was capable of taking on new rail projects, pledging to improve its maintenance standards.

“As far as the capability of the corporation to take on the job … we can assure the citizens that we are capable of delivering whatever is demanded of us,” he said.

Lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun, former chairman of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, said he was concerned with how the maintenance of the couplers was carried out, calling on the rail operator to provide a more detailed account to the public.

“Normally the MTR Corp would conduct major checks on its trains every three months. It should reveal to the public how they check the couplers – whether this is just a random check or if the staff checks each one?” he asked.

“It is now a maintenance issue, so the MTR Corp needs to reveal how they carry out the maintenance work.”

A spokesman for the Transport and Logistics Bureau on Thursday said it was examining the report from the MTR Corp and would closely monitor the rail operator’s follow-up work.

“The government is deeply concerned about the recent railway incidents. Besides the investigation into the incidents, the [MTR Corp] should commence an in-depth and thorough review of its asset management and maintenance regime as soon as possible, in order to assess the potential risks in different areas of the railway system in a comprehensive manner and prevent the occurrence of incidents,” he added.


Related Articles

Hong Kong News
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush
Domestic COVID-19 drug effective in trial
HK to see a full recovery, John Lee says in New Year message
Bargain hunters flock to last day of Hong Kong brands and products expo
Hong Kong aims for January 8 reopening of border with mainland China