Hong Kong MTR train derailment under investigation, railway chairman rules out sabotage by staff

South China Morning Post

Four cracks found on the rail line as MTR Corp looks for overseas experts with the relevant experience to help trace the cause

South China Morning Post |

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Eight people were injured in the train derailment at Hung Hom.

Last Tuesday a train derailed on the East Rail line, injuring eight people.

The 12-carriage train derailed as it entered Hung Hom station about 8.30am. Three carriages veered off the rails at a junction in the track. Services on the East Rail, which is the only local line that connects the city to the Shenzhen border, were disrupted for most of the day.

After the accident, four cracks were found on the rail line. But at the moment no one knows whether the cracks were there before the train derailed, or were caused by the derailment.

Hong Kong MTR train derails near Hung Hom station; first time railcar carrying passengers goes off track in the city

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) says it will examine the accident very carefully to find out what caused it. It would look at the mechanical parts of the train, the track and other devices. It is also looking in to whether there were any foreign objects involved.

The EMSD said it had not found any foreign objects on the track.

Lawmaker and former railway chief Michael Tien Puk-sun said he thought the accident could have been caused by a broken railway switch lock at the junction.

The MTR is so far not sure what the cause of the accident is.
Photo: May Tse/SCMP

“I raised this with the MTR, but after checking, they confirmed the lock functioned properly so this possibility was ruled out,” he said.

Tien warned that if the MTR could not identify the cause quickly, it would trigger more public fear over the safety of the city’s railways.

The wreckage from the accident had been cleared by Wednesday morning. About 200 staff worked overnight to remove the carriages and carry out safety checks and repair work.

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The MTR will call in overseas experts to find the cause of the accident.

MTR Corp chairman Rex Auyeung Pak-kuen dismissed rumours that the accident was caused by MTR staff who may have been angry at the company.

One source said the government had been investigating whether the city’s most serious rail accident in more than two decades had been an inside job.

But Auyeung said he would not entertain such a conspiracy theory.

“Many people ask whether this was a man-made incident. I don’t want to speculate as this is not fair,” he said. “We’ve decided to set up a panel to thoroughly investigate the incident. We are now looking for overseas experts with the relevant experience to help us trace the cause.”