The MTR Corporation has warned that it may take ‘quite some time’ to resume services between the Hung Hom and Mong Kok East stations after a train derailed there on Tuesday morning, as it announced that external experts will be appointed to conduct an independent probe of the incident.
Operations Director Adi Lau also apologised to those hurt in the incident, as well as passengers who were affected.
Lau told reporters that three compartments of the 12-car train went off the tracks during the incident, and officials will first have to find a way to hoist them back onto the track without disturbing the overhead lines, before the train can be towed away and extensive inspections and repair work can commence.
“It will take some time to collect information from the scene, and it will take more time to repair the damage. So this will be a relatively long period of time. In other words, it’s possible that services cannot resume today”, Lau said.
He also said the rail firm will look into all possible causes of the derailment, saying there are generally only three causes for such incidents: an object on the tracks; damage to the track itself; or a train malfunction.
Lau said there were at least three small cracks on the track, but stressed that it remains unknown whether they had been there before the derailment, or if it had been caused by the incident.
But he stressed that a small section of track that had been replaced overnight did not appear to be a factor.
He said a detail inspection will be conducted of the train, the track itself, along with all components in the area.
“All this information would be very important for the subsequent investigation panel which is going to be set up with external experts to look into the cause of this incident”, Lau said.
He said the railway will do its best to comply with the government timeline of completing an investigation into the matter within three to six months.
He added that train frequencies will have to be reduced while the affected area remains out of commission, as trains will have to turn around at Mong Kok East, which doesn’t have the ideal tracks to do this.