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MTR Services resume as normal after two days of commuter chaos

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After two days of commuter chaos due to an accident on Monday, the MTR services between Central and Admiralty on the Tsuen Wan line resumed as normal today.

During the testing of a new signalling system on Monday at around 3am, a Tsuen Wan Line train coming into Central station crashed into an Island Line train leaving from Admiralty station. MTR officials announced at 4.30am this morning that all damage caused by the accident has been repaired.

As a result, the Hong Kong government guarantees that testing of the new signalling system will be suspended until safety can be assured. The new signalling system, SelTrac CBTC, is managed by French-company Alstom and Thales. Eventually the company aims to fully automate trains through driverless operations.

SelTrac CBTC is supposed to effectively calculate a safe distance between trains in real-time through WiFi technology. This would minimize the time intervals between trains, which would maximise the amount of trains. According to an article by the Standard, the MTRC test on Monday was an attempt to reduce the interval between trains to every two minutes.

According to the Standard, the new system was initially planned to be implemented across the Tsuen Wan line this year. The transition to CBTC signalling would be applied to all lines by 2026.

The suspension of MTR train services between Central and Admiralty resulted in major chaos for commuters on Monday and Tuesday, especially during rush hours.

The Transport Department encouraged commuters to use alternative routes and arrange for more traveling time. Additional bus services were organised across Hong Kong, nonetheless the Admiralty MTR station was still packed with frustrated commuters.

The Standard reports that passengers critiqued the lack of organisation resulting in queues for buses at Hung Hom bus interchange. Others blamed the MTR’s limited communication, reporting that they were unaware of the accident prior to reaching the station.


Photo credits: Hong Kong Free Press


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