Date
23 November 2017
MTR will deploy driverless trains on the South Island Line (East) which is expected to be operational by the end of 2016. Photos: MTR, Apple Daily
MTR will deploy driverless trains on the South Island Line (East) which is expected to be operational by the end of 2016. Photos: MTR, Apple Daily

Test runs to begin on driverless trains for new HK rail line

MTR Corporation (MTRC) could begin next month test runs of new fully automatic driverless trains on a small section between Wong Chuk Hang and South Horizons, according to a report.

The trials, which will last for a year, come as the local rail operator has taken delivery of the first of 10 three-car trains from China’s CNR Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ming Pao Daily News reported.

The three-car trains will be used on the new South Island Line (East), which is expected to be operational by the end of 2016.

The train fleet, which cost the MTRC around HK$540 million (US$69.6 million), will be the first driverless train series to be used by the rail operator in Hong Kong.

Ken Wong, a project manger for the South Island Line, was quoted as saying each of the new train costs HK$54 million which is about ten to 20 percent higher than existing trains, as the new vehicles are more technically advanced.

Other factors such as the length of the tender periods and inflation have also contributed to the higher costs, he said.

Three of the new trains have now arrived at the Wong Chung Hang depot, while the remaining seven are still at the Siu Ho Wan depot.

Dual control and signal systems equipped on these new trains mean that back-up systems could be immediately put into use in the event that the main systems are out of order, MTRC said.

While there will be no drivers onboard the trains, CCTVs will be used to monitor the compartments.

Taking inspiration from the Southern District’s seaside scenery, officials have decided on ocean-themed design for the new trains, with blue and yellow being the primary colors and light effects resembling sea waves.

Also, passengers will be able to see through the glass at the front and back of the trains.

The 7-km South Island Line (East) will be a medium-capacity line linking the existing MTR network at Admiralty with the Southern District of Hong Kong. The line will have four stations: Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang, Lei Tung, and South Horizons.

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