The MTR Corporation has said it will investigate the derailment of a new Express Rail Link train at its depot, months before the new system is set to begin operations.

On Thursday morning, the company confirmed that staff had discovered that part of a rear cabin’s wheels had become disconnected from the tracks at the Shek Kong depot in New Territories at 9:15pm on Tuesday.

The train was operating as part of a trial run earlier on Tuesday and had then returned to the depot. No one was injured in the incident.

Express Rail Link
Photo: GovHK.

The company said it was very concerned about the incident and will conduct a detailed investigation. Officers from the train manufacturer Qingdao Sifang will also be sent to Hong Kong to examine. The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department has been notified.

The Department said it has sent officers to examine immediately after being notified, and will only approve train operations when safety is ensured.

The nine trains of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link were recently named “Vibrant Express” following a public contest.

The government aims at passing the legal framework for the mainland port area before the legislature’s summer break. The zone at the West Kowloon terminus will be under mainland jurisdiction instead of Hong Kong’s. The government had said it is confident that the rail system could being operations in September.

Express Rail Link
Photo: GovHK.

Trial runs began on Sunday. The company said that they will be testing train service and station facility systems, such as signalling systems, ticketing systems, and beginning staff training.

Drills and exercises relating railway services will be conducted, with some involving with external authorities.

The trial operations starts with series of activities on interfaces with Mainland networks, such as on integrated time-tables for trains running. The trains running and reliability run will be launched in stages, with no passengers in trains.

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.