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LCQ2: Inspection and replacement of MTR trains
     Following is a question by the Hon Michael Tien and a reply by the Secretary for Transport and Logistics, Mr Lam Sai-hung, in the Legislative Council today (November 30):


     A train door detachment incident involving a Metro Cammell Electric Multiple Unit (commonly known as M-Train) of the MTR Corporation Limited (MTR) occurred in December last year. Doors of an M-Train ripped off again due to train derailment this month. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) given that after the door detachment incident last year, I wrote to the Government requesting that MTR be instructed to use the latest technology to inspect the doors of other M-Trains, so as to ensure that the train doors were free from anomalies such as metal fatigue, whether it knows if MTR has used the latest technology (e.g. ultrasound) to conduct a comprehensive inspection of the doors and guide rails of all M-Trains;

(2) whether it will, in response to the door detachment incident occurred this month, request MTR to fully adopt ultrasound technology to inspect the doors and guide rails of all M-Trains; and

(3) as MTR announced in 2015 that 93 eight-car trains (commonly known as Q-Trains) would be purchased to replace all M-Trains, and it has been reported that such trains have been delivered to Hong Kong gradually, whether the Government will request MTR to replace all M-Trains with Q-Trains before the end of next year?



     The maintenance, repair, renewal and enhancement of assets of the railway system are of paramount importance to the continuous provision of safe, reliable and efficient railway services. The Government has all along urged the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) to strictly follow its asset management procedures to provide regular maintenance for its trains, tracks, power supply systems and components of the signalling systems, etc. The MTRCL should also enhance or renew such systems as and when necessary according to their functions, effectiveness and asset service life to ensure the operational safety and maintain the high service standards of the railway system. 

     In consultation with the MTRCL and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), my reply to the question raised by the Hon Michael Tien is as follows:

(1) and (2) Regarding the train door dislodgement incident at Causeway Bay Station on the MTR Island Line on December 2, 2021, MTRCL's investigation confirmed that the incident was caused by the leaning out of an improperly secured movable access panel of a convertible trackside billboard, which hit and dislodged the doors of the train entering the platform. As for the train incident on the MTR Tsuen Wan Line on November 13 this year, the preliminary investigation found that the incident was caused by the collision between the train and a metallic protection barrier on the trackside. According to the information of the MTRCL and the EMSD, the two incidents have not been found to be related to metal fatigue of the train doors. Of course, the cause of the incident on November 13 this year remains to be investigated in detail.
     The MTRCL has established the maintenance procedures for different railway assets having regard to their respective properties. The maintenance staff will carry out maintenance work in accordance with the relevant procedures, including inspection and replacement of parts as well as arranging asset renewal according to their conditions. Regarding the trains, train captains will check the smooth operation of train doors before departing from the depot for passenger service each day and report any irregularities to the maintenance department of the depot for follow-up. According to the maintenance guidelines of the MTRCL, maintenance staff will conduct detailed inspection of the doors of the MTR urban lines (including Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line and Tseung Kwan O Line) trains after approximately every 8 000 kilometres of train service to ensure that they are in good condition.  The EMSD also commenced a Comprehensive and Direct Assessment (C&DA) in December last year to conduct sample checking of the repair and maintenance procedures, their implementation as well as repair and maintenance record of train doors of all railway lines. Sample inspection of the train doors were also conducted. The assessment results confirmed that the MTRCL's repair and maintenance works in respect of train doors were generally in order, doors of trains running on all railway line were generally in good condition, and posed no danger to train operations. Subsequently, the MTRCL also engaged experts to carry out strength tests and analysis on the metallic material of door guides and other structural components. The relevant test results revealed that the structures of train doors were sound and in good condition.

     Following the incident of train door dislodgement at Causeway Bay Station on the MTR Island Line late last year, the MTRCL has strengthened its maintenance regime for trackside advertising panels by introducing preventive maintenance and installing remote monitoring sensing devices with alert function to ensure proper locking of the advertising panels with a view to preventing recurrence of similar incidents. The Government will also continue to follow up on the investigation of the train incident on the MTR Tsuen Wan Line to identify the cause and follow up on the implementation plan of the improvement measures, including the exploration of using technology to strengthen the monitoring as well as repair and maintenance of the railway system, to ensure the safety and reliability of the railway system.

(3) Some of the first generation trains (commonly known as M-Trains) running on the four urban lines have been in service since 1979. Considering that those trains would be gradually reaching the end of their asset life, the MTRCL announced the purchase of 93 new trains (commonly known as Q-Trains) in 2015 to replace the first generation trains for the urban lines in phases to enhance the travelling experience of passengers.

     The original plan was for the new trains to commence service in phases as the urban line signalling system upgrading project progressed. However, as there is a delay in the signalling system upgrading project, the commissioning of the new trains has to be deferred.

     To facilitate early commissioning of the new trains according to the latest schedule of the urban line signalling system upgrading project, the MTRCL has fitted the existing signalling system (the SACEM system) on some of the new trains and worked with the train supplier to adjust certain design and hardware of the trains with a view to putting the trains into service as early as possible under the existing signalling system.

     The new trains with the existing signalling equipment are being shipped to Hong Kong progressively. Following the completion of a series of statutory testing and with the confirmation from relevant government departments, including the EMSD and the Transport Department, that it is safe and sound in operation, the first new train with the existing signalling equipment was put into service on the Kwun Tong Line last Sunday (November 27, 2022).

     The MTRCL has drawn up a train replacement plan to progressively put the new trains into service in accordance with their delivery schedules, inspection and testing procedures, retirement schedule of the first generation trains, etc.  Following the commencement of train replacement on the Kwun Tong Line, the new trains will be put into service progressively on the Island Line, Tsuen Wan Line and Tseung Kwan O Line starting from early 2024, and all trains are expected to be put into service in 2028 to 2029.

     Thank you, President.
Ends/Wednesday, November 30, 2022
Issued at HKT 15:26
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