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Hong Kong MTR

MTR power glitch hits second day of Hong Kong South Island Line

Four stations faced blackouts but train services were unaffected

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 10:40am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 December, 2016, 11:22pm

An electrical glitch triggered power outages at stations along the new South Island Line on Thursday, the second day of operation for the much-anticipated route.

A power fault at the MTR’s Wong Chuk Hang depot led to a short circuit on four stations along the line, leading to a halt in the ­operation of lighting systems, escalators, elevators, as well as entry and exit gates.

“I apologise for the inconvenience caused,” Francis Li Shing-kee, MTR Corporation’s head of operating, said.

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He said a remote control system for electrical power – which he likened to a TV remote control – at the depot malfunctioned at 2.15pm, triggering a short circuit.

The MTR was forced to switch to manual controls following the incident, which was investigated by staff.

A ship impact control system on Ap Lei Chau Bridge, which the line runs through, was also affected, Li said. The system provides a safeguard against vessels that may be too tall to sail under the structure.

He emphasised however that major operations were not affected during the incident.

All services on the line returned to normal at 2.50pm.

The line opened on Wednesday to much fanfare, with the new stations – South Horizons, Lei Tung, Wong Chuk Hang and Ocean Park – logging some 150,000 passenger journeys.

MTR Corp estimated that the line would serve up to 170,000 passenger journeys a day in 18 hours of service. There are about 350,000 Southern District residents and commuters.

It’s an early start as Hong Kong’s HK$16.9 billion South Island Line opens smoothly

Southern district councillors earlier feared the MTR would not be able to cope with commuter volumes.

Trains on the line have a three-carriage design, and the six-level station at Admiralty will handle traffic for four lines, including the future Sha Tin to Central link.

On an RTHK programme on Thursday, Dr Hung Wing-tat, associate professor of Polytechnic University’s department of civil and environmental engineering, expressed concern over a lack of monitoring equipment on the railway tracks.

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Li, also on the programme, countered that each of the automatic, driverless trains was equipped in front with cameras that transmitted live information to the control centre. He added that the carriages also had internal surveillance systems installed.