Date
27 July 2017
Emergency repairs are carried out on the affected track while train services continue. An MTR insider said officials lied about the safety risk. Photos: Ming Pao, tvb.com
Emergency repairs are carried out on the affected track while train services continue. An MTR insider said officials lied about the safety risk. Photos: Ming Pao, tvb.com

Whistleblower: MTR lied about rail crack risk

An insider is accusing MTR Corp. of downplaying a crack on the Tsuen Wan Line on Monday because it did not want to suspend train services.

Photos before emergency repairs were carried out appear to contradict claims by MTR officials that the risk to passenger safety was minimal, Ming Pao Daily reports.

The rail operator sent repairmen after receiving a report at 10:30 a.m. that a crack had been found in the Tsuen Wan-bound section of the track near Lai King station.

Train services continued but at lower speeds while repairs were made until 1:15 p.m. Frequencies were cut to six-minute intervals.

A spokesman later said the crack was less than one millimeter and the track itself was not broken.

The Austria-made track, installed two years ago, last passed inspections on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1, the spokesman said.

Four engineers and experts contacted by Ming Pao said there was no need to suspend services.

However, pre-repair photos provided by an MTR insider show a broken track. Also, these suggest the track may have moved five millimeters.

The insider said MTR officials should tell the truth and accused them of ignoring passenger safety.

He said the rail company is too worried about a service suspension, which could bring fines and other punishment from the government, at the expense of commuters.

The MTR spokesman pushed back against the accusations, saying trains were safe to operate under the circumstances at lower speeds and that the track displacement was within the 25-millimeter safety limit.

The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department said the crack did not affect rail safety but added it is still investigating.

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TL/AC/RA

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