Hong Kong MTR

Delays are a danger as Hong Kong MTR tests new signals for next 10 years

New system, meant to boost network’s capacity in the long run, will be trialled during early hours

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 05 October, 2016, 6:46pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 06 October, 2016, 9:58am

Hong Kong commuters have been warned about possible morning delays or slowdowns over the next decade on the MTR, as engineers test replacement rail systems during the early hours, starting with the East Rail Line later this month.

Adi Lau Tin-shing, the MTR Corporation’s operations director, announced yesterday train tests will be carried out on the new signalling systems in the short window of overnight non-service hours in phases, starting with Racecourse station.

Every morning, before the East Rail Line starts service, staff will switch the new system back to the old one.

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The tests will be gradually extended to University and Fo Tan stations by the first quarter of 2017 and eventually to the whole East Rail Line.

By the end of this year, tests will also be carried out on the Tsuen Wan Line.

The whole replacement project, covering eight lines, will last until 2026.

The new signalling systems are expected to boost the rail network’s capacity by 10 per cent by enabling a more frequent train service.

But Lau called for public understanding, saying problems may crop up during the switch back to the current system before the trains are due to start service every morning.

“We cannot preclude unforeseen situations which may cause delays or disruptions to train service,” Lau said.

He said a contingency plan was in place for any unexpected hiccups in operations – including standby engineers, other workers and shuttle buses – to resolve any technical problems and to provide assistance to affected passengers.

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“Service information and timely dissemination about any train tests or delays will also be available for passengers,” he said. “We shall do our best to minimise the impact on customers. I appeal to their understanding”