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Hong Kong high-speed rail

Power failure hits Hong Kong’s high-speed rail services to Shenzhen

  • Eighteen trains to Futian in Shenzhen affected
  • CLP Power said two out of three power cables feeding electricity to Shek Kong electricity substation failed to resume supply after maintenance
PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 December, 2018, 8:54am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 December, 2018, 11:12pm

Hong Kong’s cross-border high-speed rail suffered its first major breakdown since launching in September as 18 trains to Futian in Shenzhen were cancelled at one stage due to a power failure on Saturday.

At 7.35am, the MTR Corporation, which operates the Hong Kong section of the link, said the trains in question would resume service after some emergency measures were taken. The rail giant said the issue was temporarily resolved by channelling power from the network of its mainland operating partner to local train services.

Electricity provider CLP Power said it was seeking to fully restore supply to affected services. It added that it would report its findings to the government once the root cause of the problem was identified.

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By 10 am, the West Kowloon terminus was packed with passengers and services were back to normal. Some of the commuters said they were not aware of the temporary power problem earlier in the morning.

Affected passenger Lam Chik-kai, who booked tickets to Futian, said the MTR Corp’s arrangement could have been better. The 45-year-old clerk said he was uncertain whether services would resume after hearing news of the cancellations at around 6 am. “I wasn’t worried because it was a short trip. I can just go to another port.”

Lam said he did not receive any notification about the situation and had to call the company’s hotline at about 8am. He was then told services would resume.

“If I had crossed the border from another port, then the ticket would have been wasted,” he said.

He added that he arrived at the terminus an hour earlier than planned to take the 11.30am train.

Another passenger, Mingo Chuk, 24, on the same train to Futian said the rail operator’s management of the issue was fine. Chuk, who works in the finance sector, said he learned on social media that the power problem was resolved at 9am.

“It was fixed before crowds started boarding the trains,” he said.

CLP earlier said two of the three 132-kilovolt circuits feeding electricity to the local stretch of the rail at power substations in Shek Kong, Yuen Long, failed to resume operation after planned maintenance with the MTR Corp, resulting in limited power supply.

“CLP apologises for any inconvenience caused,” the power firm said. It added that the design provided multiple power sources to the Hong Kong section of the express rail, so other passengers on the network were not affected.

At 6am, trains hit by the problem were: G5814, G5836, G5813, G5816, G5835, G5838, G5815, G5818, G5837, G5840, G5817, G5820, G5839, G5842, G5819, G5822, G5841, G5821.

Passengers with queries were advised to call the MTR hotline on 21200888.

Launched almost three months ago, the 26km Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link has carried about 3.4 million passengers as of November 29. The average daily passenger number is 50,000 – about 38 per cent below the government’s projected estimate of 80,100.

Additional reporting by Kanis Leung