Lawmakers have urged the MTR Corporation to disclose more information over a crack that was only fixed 20 days after it was discovered.

The five millimetre horizontal crack was located around 400 metres from the Fo Tan station platform, on the rails in the direction of Sha Tin. It was found on November 9 but the corporation did not report it to the government.

The MTRC said the rail was secured with a metal plate. Full replacement work only began at 1am on Wednesday and was completed at around 3:30am.

A spokesperson for the corporation said it had been monitoring the crack after its discovery and consolidation, and that train operations were running smoothly without slowing down.

The spokesperson also said procedures were carried out in accordance with maintenance guidelines and that the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) will be notified when necessary.

Michael Tien, chair of the Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways, said that the MTRC should disclose the actual size of the crack and why it was only replaced after 20 days.

“The crack must not have been that large on November 9 – did the MTRC follow the guidelines?” Tien, the former chair of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, said.

“We have to see how serious the crack was at the time, and there should be photos taken every three days, so that we can see whether it deteriorated quickly and whether it should have been replaced earlier in the middle of the month. Now, we don’t have that information.”

A train passing through the crack.

Lawmaker Ben Chan, the subcommittee’s vice-chair, said the crack was not a straight line.

He said the East Rail Line is a very busy service: “The burden on the rail is very heavy. It would be more appropriate for the MTRC to report it the EMSD, as there was a rather large crack.”

Kris Cheng

Kris Cheng is a Hong Kong journalist with an interest in local politics. His work has been featured in Washington Post, Public Radio International, Hong Kong Economic Times and others. He has a BSSc in Sociology from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Kris is HKFP's Editorial Director.