Signaling fault delays trains on 'aging' Kwun Tong Line

Top News | Sum Lok-kei 9 Aug 2017

A second signaling fault in four days plagued train services along the MTR's Kwun Tong Line.

The media was first notified of a signaling fault near Yau Ma Tei station at 6.55pm as services were delayed for five to 10 minutes on the Kwun Tong Line and a more severe slowdown hampered trains between Whampoa and Yau Ma Tei stations.

At 7.15pm, MTR Corp Ltd said trains were running at 10-minute intervals between Whampoa and Yau Ma Tei stations and at four-minute intervals the rest of the line.

It warned passengers of longer waiting times on the Kwun Tong Line. The latest service delay ended at 7.40pm - a period of less than an hour - which was much shorter than Saturday's delay of more than 10 hours.

The signaling system on the Kwun Tong Line malfunctioned on Saturday, with multiple computers reportedly going haywire before services were disrupted.

It was the longest service delay in the last two decades. An MTRCL executive said he hoped it would not be repeated, adding work to update the signaling equipment on the Tsuen Wan Line is ongoing.

MTRCL said similar work will be done on other rail lines, but it did not say when the Kwun Tong Line will get the same updating.

An upset passenger wrote on Facebook: "How can the company handle the express rail when it is not managing the MTR well? Will the speed of the express rail also be hampered by signaling issues?"

Legislative Council transport panel chairman Ben Chan Han-pan said repeated faults are a sign of aging of the Kwun Tong Line's signaling system. "Under certain weather and environmental conditions, issues will surface," Chan said.

He said MTRCL should take a thorough approach in dealing with the issue and to replace necessary parts.

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