Hong Kong’s MTR Corp is investing over HK$3b to upgrade signalling systems

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 5:04pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 13 September, 2017, 11:06pm

I refer to the letter from Colette Ho Tsz-kwai (“MTR should act now on signal system”, August 20), and would like to provide supplementary information on the work that the MTR Corporation is doing with respect to maintaining and upgrading our railway assets.

The MTR aims to provide a safe, reliable and comfortable railway service for our passengers. The corporation makes continued investments to enhance, renew and maintain its railway assets and infrastructure.

In 2016 alone, over HK$8 billion was invested. The corporation is the first railway operator in the world to have obtained the ISO 55001 certification, which is the world’s highest regarded international standard on asset management.

With continued investment and a vigorous asset management system in place, MTR is able to maintain a world-class on-time train service performance of 99.9 per cent, despite the significant increase in patronage.

We recognise that there has been a number of incidents of longer service delay recently, including the signalling fault on the Kwun Tong Line on August 5. We would like to again apologise to affected passengers. We are deeply concerned about the incident, and an executive review panel is now conducting a thorough review and identifying areas for further improvement.

The corporation is committed to investing HK$3.3 billion to upgrade the signalling system of six railway lines (including the Kwun Tong Line) and also the Airport Express.

With upgraded signalling systems, the MTR will further enhance capacity, service reliability and also efficiency. This is a massive and complicated project, as the works are to be carried out without affecting daily railway operations. We need to do thorough risk assessments and take appropriate precautions, to minimise risks and any potential impacts on passengers.

Most of the upgrading works can only be done during non-operating hours every day, what we call “the golden two hours”, which explains the extended programme required for the project. Works on the signalling upgrading works started in 2015.

We understand the public wants the signal upgrading works, in particular for the Kwun Tong Line, to be done as soon as possible.

In fact, the design work for upgrading this line has started. It is necessary to upgrade different railway lines using a step-by-step and prudent approach, with due consideration to the service of the entire network.

Osbert Kwan, senior manager, corporate relations, MTR Corporation