An overnight train crash on the MTR led to cancelled services all day today between Central and Admiralty stations on the Tsuen Wan line. The rare incident, in which a carriage was derailed, took place near Central station at about 3am when a Tsuen Wan-bound train hit a Central-bound train at the crossover section during a trial run for a new signal system, according to a source.
One driver was reportedly injured in the leg during the smash, and the drivers of both trains were sent to Queen Mary Hospital in Pok Fu Lam.
A 31-year-old driver, surnamed Mok, was injured in the leg. The other driver, a 24-year-old surnamed Chung, suffered from smoke inhalation, according to police.
Train services between Tsim Sha Tsui and Tsuen Wan stations on the Tsuen Wan line were departing every 3½ minutes, the MTR Corporation said.
It urged commuters heading to Central station to change at Admiralty for the Island line, or take alternative public transport.
Adi Lau Tin-shing, operations director for the MTR Corp, said the operator had no clue why the two trains ended up on the same track during the trial.
He said all trials would be suspended until the cause of the crash is investigated, and pledged the new signal system would only come in after it passes all tests. Lau apologised for the inconvenience caused, adding that the train operator would implement crowd safety measures on Monday if necessary. The corporation had informed the Transport Department once the accident happened, he said, to sort out transport arrangements between Admiralty and Central.
The corporation’s chief of operating Alan Cheng Kwan-hing said the trains dealt glancing blows to each other, rather than crashing head-on.
“It was not a head-on collision,” he told a radio programme. “Our initial findings showed the two trains sideswiped each other when they were travelling towards each other at the crossover junction ... I’ve never come across this kind of incident on the MTR.”
Photos released by the MTR Corp showed badly damaged train compartments with several doors unhinged, and shattered glass strewn across the carriage floor.
One train was seen tilted up on one side and was completely derailed.
Hong Kong Federation of Railway Trade Unions vice-chairman Tam Kin-chiu said incidents like Monday’s were very rare and worrying, adding that it was probably caused by a flaw in the signalling system.
“As far as we know, one train driver did follow the signals and when he detected something wrong he pushed the emergency button. We believe it’s probable the collision was caused by a signalling system flaw,” he said.