Following the derailment of a passenger train this morning, the MTR stated that the initial round of inspection work is in good progress. The incident happened around 8.30am at Hung Hom station, when the train was travelling from Mong Kok East to Hung Hom, injuring eight passengers.
The derailment happened at a point on the track where trains may switch from one track to another. Three of the 12 compartments came off the track. At a press conference held around 6pm today, MTR Operations Director Adi Lau Tin-shing said one of the three derailed carts had been put back on the track, while the sixth to 12th carts were driven back to the Ho Tung Lau Depot in Fo Tan.
The chance of restoring train services between Hung Hom station and Mong Kok East station by tonight is "remote", Lau said. He explained the resumption of train services is still uncertain, as it depends on the time needed to lift the remaining two derailed carts, which he described as a challenging task.
Lau noted that track replacement work was being conducted during the early hours of Tuesday. The work, which involved changing a 8-metre long steel track, was conducted at least 100 metres away from the site of the incident, and Lau said it appeared that the replacement had nothing to do with the derailment. However, it would be included in the report to the investigation commission.
The MTR described the incident as “serious and rare”. They apologised to the eight passengers who suffered minor injuries, as well as to those affected by the disrupted service.
Lau said it will take to time to first examine and remove the train, and then inspect the track, but the work cannot be done while other trains are running.
According to Lau, there are three main causes for train derailment: either there is an obstruction on the track, a defect in the train track, or a problem with the train itself.
He said it is too early to determine the reason for this derailment. There will be an official investigation into the matter, which will take three to six months, as required by the government.
There were also photographs of a crack in the rail, which some people have blamed for the derailment. Lau said: “We can’t be sure if the crack was the cause of the derailing, but I have seen it.”
It is the MTR’s second major incident this year, after two trains without passengers crashed in March.
After an initial round of inspection, the MTR found three fractures on the tracks near the site of the incident. Two of the gaps are around 30 mm wide, while the other one is around 1 mm. Lau said further examination needs to be carried out to determine whether the cracks are causes or results of the derailment.
The MTR have also reviewed surveillance footage from cameras on the platform, but the angle does not provide a clear view of the whole incident, thus the possibility of having external objects on the tracks cannot be ruled out at the moment.