Hong Kong authorities will ask MTR Corporation to submit a risk evaluation report on the coaches to be used on the upcoming Hong Kong-Shenzhen-Guangzhou high-speed rail link, Ming Pao Daily reported Tuesday, citing an unidentified source.
The move comes in the wake of a finding that nine sets of cars purchased by the railway operator from mainland firms did not meet the European Union crashworthiness standard, the report said.
The government’s Electrical and Mechanical Services Department sent officials in late April to visit China Railway Corp. and three bid-winning train makers — CSR Corp. (01766.HK, 601766.CN), China CNR Corp. (601299.CN) and CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co.
The officials confirmed that the makers did not adopt the EU’s EN 15227 crashworthiness standard, which requires cars to install so-called anti-creepers that can withstand crash at speeds under 36 kilometers per hour.
A spokesman for the department was quoted as saying that it has urged MTR to provide proof that the purchased high-speed rail cars can meet the same standard as EN15227. The company will not be given the go-ahead to operate the cars before three rounds of tests, he said.
MTR said it had been aware of the EU standard but all of the mainland train makers that joined bidding in 2011 claimed then that they did not have cars fit for the standard.
The cars were purchased in 2010 based on the design of the mainland’s CRH380A high-speed train model. The total cost is said to be HK$1.74 billion (US$224.48 million).
Michael Tien, legislator and former chairman of KCRC, believes MTR may have been under the impression that anti-collision safety is not a key as long as signal control is operated well. A legislative panel may seek some explanation from the company at a meeting on July 4.
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