A report by Apple Daily has claimed that there are serious water leakages at various high speed rail construction sites, resulting in cracks and rusting parts. Though the MTR Corporation has been urged to follow up on the problem, the company and a former engineering institution president said that the issue was not serious and would not cause structural problems.

A source cited by Apple Daily said that there were various cracks and fractures with the modular prefabricated structure at Yuen Long’s Tai Kong Po-Tse Uk Tsuen tunnel and that the situation has worsened over recent months. The article said that the tunnel at Yau Ma Tei’s Hoi Wang Road had sprung leaks for the past year. The pictures also showed that the rail tracks had become rusty and metal parts had fallen off.

Water could be seen seeping through the walls.

According to the source, the construction project at Shek Kong was facing leakage problems as well, causing cracks in the concrete and moss growing on both sides of the wall. Although employees repeatedly notified the MTRC of the issues, they were ignored and construction continued, the source claimed.

‘Water dripping’

Anti-XRL activist Chu Hoi-dik said that during a site visit to the construction grounds, he could hear the sound of water dripping, and urged the MTRC to invite professionals to access the situation.

Wong Wing-wah, a contractor who previously worked on MTRC projects, told Apple Daily that the leaks demonstrate a malfunction of the waterproofing system and the problem must be solved before the electronic signalling systems are installed to avoid operational problems.

Rusting at rail tracks.

MTRC said in response to the allegations that the rail tracks in Hong Kong are designed to accommodate different weather conditions and, under different circumstances, the surface of the tracks may appear oxidised, but it would not affect the actual structure.

It also said that they had already inspected the said section of the track, and confirmed the seepage would not affect the safety of the tunnel structure. The company said the underground leak problem was dealt with by grouting, which was an effective way of keeping the situation under control, and it will continue to supervise and follow up.

The high speed rail site. Photo: Stand News.

Former Hong Kong Institution of Engineers President Greg Wong also said that there was no danger to the structure based on the pictures provided, and that seepage in the tunnel is normal. So long as there was not a high volume of water, the problem could be improved by grouting, he said.

Karen is a journalist and writer covering politics and legal affairs in Hong Kong for HKFP. She has also written features on human rights, public space, regional legal developments, social and grassroots activism, and arts & culture. She is a BA and LLB graduate from the University of Hong Kong.