For the first time in four decades, a Mass Transit Railway (MTR) train went off its tracks during morning rush hour, which led to the partial suspension of the East Rail line in Hong Kong.
South China Morning Post reported rail operator MTR Corporation as saying today (17 Sep) that it has suspended services between Mong Kok East and Hung Hom stations around 8.30am on Tuesday following the incident.
Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan visited the Hung Hom station at 10.30am, added SCMP.
A source told SCMP that while MTR Corp “has not received any formal reports of injuries”, emergency services were deployed for those who were affected by the derailment.
Another source linked to MTR Corp told SCMP that the operator did not come across any suspicious objects on the track, adding that it would have been difficult for anyone to enter the area in the first place as it was closed off.
“It is fortunate there have not been any serious injuries or casualties, but if the train was going at high speed, the situation could have been worse,” Lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting told reporters at a briefing outside the Legislative Council building, adding that MTR Corp should thoroughly investigate the incident.
The train, which was arriving at Hung Hom station from Mong Kok East, derailed at a point of diversion “where trains are directed to different platforms”, SCMP noted. The direction and speed of the MTR trains are computer-controlled.
A passenger told SCMP that “there was no announcement or guidance from the train conductor or MTR staff, and passengers made the decision to leave the carriage by themselves as dust, smoke and debris began filling the air”.
AFP reported that MTR Corp has been “targeted” by protesters after the company’s refusal to hand over CCTV footage depicting alleged police brutality against protestors and passengers on one of its trains.
A number of protestors have also allegedly vandalised MTR stations by crashing into entrance barriers, breaking ticketing machines and smashing windows, according to AFP.
Previously in Mar this year, a MTR locomotive derailed and crashed into another train during the testing of a new signalling system, resulting in severe damage. However, drivers of the two trains sustained minor injuries, and no passengers were on board during the clash.
Developing story – more to come.