Hong Kong MTR

Hong Kong rail passengers urged to arrive earlier for Airport Express check-in as signal fault causes delays

  • Trains between Hong Kong station and airport taking five to 10 minutes longer
  • Travellers told to arrive at stations at least two hours ahead of flight departures
PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 December, 2018, 7:08pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 December, 2018, 10:52pm

Hong Kong’s Airport Express railway and Tung Chung line were disrupted for more than three hours on Monday evening due to a signalling fault near Kowloon station, according to the MTR Corporation.

Airline passengers hoping to check in at Hong Kong or Kowloon stations were told to arrive at least two hours ahead of their scheduled departure time instead of the usual 90 minutes because of service disruptions along the two lines that led to longer waiting times.

Announcing the delays at about 6.30pm, the MTR Corp said a signal fault meant trains travelling between Hong Kong station and the airport would take 10 to 15 minutes longer, which was later shortened to five to 10 minutes. By 7.30pm, Airport Express trains were running at 12-minute intervals while those on the Tung Chung line were running every eight minutes.

The MTR Corp said passengers should arrive at least two hours ahead of their flight departure time until further notice.

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“Due to a signalling fault near Kowloon station, Tung Chung line trains between Kowloon station and Hong Kong station will operate at a slower speed,” the rail giant said.

“Our engineering team has already arrived on the scene for on-site maintenance and repair work. Passengers should reserve sufficient time for their journeys.”

By 9.40pm services were running normally again.

The MTR Corp has recently been subjected to a barrage of criticism over unstable services after a spate of disruptions caused by signalling failures. In October, an unprecedented delay on four MTR lines for over six hours almost paralysed the network, throwing the travel plans of millions of commuters into chaos.

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The firm ruled out the cause of the failure having anything to do with a signalling system upgrade project which involves testing every night on various lines.

In a paper submitted to the legislature in October, the operator said the signalling systems for the four lines were provided by two suppliers but were interconnected through computers.

“It resulted in an uncoordinated situation between the two interconnected systems when they were undergoing synchronisation as usual, hence leading to unstable operations,” it said.

There was no evidence the incident was related to a computer virus or sabotage, the firm added.