Hong Kong’s railway company has been urged to launch an in-depth investigation after a train derailed on Sunday morning, causing two pairs of doors to fall off as it entered Yau Ma Tei station.
MTR services from Lai King to Jordan on the Tsuen Wan Line were suspended for most of Sunday and resumed on Monday morning. A 78-year-old woman was injured in the incident during evacuation.
The MTR Corporation said that “the train wheel and the bogie of the first car were misaligned from the rail, and some of the trackside metal equipment was [found] damaged” in a statement issued late on Sunday.
“The incident involves a Central-bound Tsuen Wan Line train that was arriving at platform 2 of Yau Ma Tei Station. The first two cars of the train entered the platform and stopped, and two pairs of train doors facing the platform were dislocated,” the statement continued.
Secretary for Transport and Logistics Lam Sai-hung said on Sunday after inspecting the scene that the government had already demanded the railway operator to conduct an investigation.
The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, in a separate statement on Sunday evening, said that while the department had begun an investigation, it also required the corporation to submit an incident report “as soon as possible,” and “duly formulate and implement improvement measures to ensure the safety of railway operation.”
The severity of the incident was “unacceptable,” the Democratic Party said on Sunday. Nicholas Hon, the party’s spokesman on traffic policies, said that the incident suggested “major negligence” in MTRC’s management of train safety, regardless of whether the incident was caused by the aging trains or issues of track maintenance or signalling.
“If the incident had happened during rush hour on a weekday, when the compartments are very crowded, the consequences would be unimaginable and may have resulted in serious causalities,” he said.
Pro-Beijing lawmaker Ben Chan from the DAB, who is the chair of the Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways in the legislature, said that the group might adjust its meeting agenda to include the discussion of the incident.
Pro-establishment lawmaker Gary Zhang, who previously worked at the MTRC, slammed the corporation’s evacuation plan on Sunday after around 150 passengers were told to walk to Mong Kok station along the tracks. The remaining 700-odd left via the station platform at Yau Ma Tei.
The legislator said on Commercial Radio on Monday morning that he was ” very surprised” some passengers had to walk along the tracks.
“It’s not just in Hong Kong, but the principle of railway operation across the world, that even if there is something wrong with the train it should be driven to the next platform if possible and all passengers evacuated there, that’s the safest way,” said Zhang.
The lawmaker said that the train had already partially reached the platform of Yau Ma Tei station on Sunday, and described asking passengers to walk on tracks as a “last resort.”
The Yau Ma Tei station incident happened less than a year after a pair of doors on an Island Line train bound for Kennedy Town came off as it approached Causeway Bay station last December.
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