MTR ditches UK-made trains to spend HK$6 billion with mainland Chinese manufacturer
The MTR Corporation is to spend HK$6 billion on its largest-ever order of trains from a mainland manufacturer.
The purchase of 93 eight-car trains will replace all of the first-generation, British-made trains – now 30 years old – currently operating on the Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Island and Tseung Kwan O lines, an MTR Corp spokesman said.
Under the new contract, the trains will be delivered by mainland maker CSR Qingdao Sifang between 2018 and 2023.
MTR chief executive officer Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen said: “This is the largest-ever order of new trains in the MTR’s history and it represents a critically important investment to maintain our railway service at world-class levels.”
To address safety concerns, the spokesman said the commissioning, manufacture, testing and supply of the new trains would be carried to strict MTR specifications and standards. The government’s Electrical and Mechanical Services Department will have to certify the trains before they enter service.
In May, the MTR Corp announced plans to spend about HK$7 billion on replacing 78 trains.
Leong said: “In view of the competitive tenders received and after weighing the benefits of having a uniform train fleet equipped with more up-to-date systems, we decided that it would be better value for money to exercise the option included in the tender to replace all 93 first-generation, eight-car trains in one go.”
However, Gary Fan Kwok-wai of the Legco’s railway subcommittee said he was not confident about the safety standards of the mainland-made trains and was worried that the MTR Corp had put cost considerations first. He said he would ask the MTR for a full explanation about it decision.