19 December 2002
KCRC forms specialist team to investigate incident on 18 Dec 2002
 
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) has formed a specialist team to investigate into the cause of yesterday’s incident of a Light Rail vehicle jumping tracks.
The team is tasked to make a thorough investigation into yesterday’s incident, including its cause and how the incident was managed.
The team will be headed by Mr Leo Mak, the Corporation’s General Manager of Railway Systems of West Rail.
A KCRC spokesman said, "The team is asked to make a thorough investigation, and to submit within two weeks a preliminary report, via the Chief Executive Officer, to the KCRC Chairman and the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works.
"Findings of the investigation will be made public in due course. The investigation will help the Corporation to assess whether any additional measures are required to ensure the continued safe and efficient operation of Light Rail.
The spokesman said, "So far, no evidence has emerged in the intial investigation that yesterday’s incident was related to the aging of the Light Rail system.
"The Light Rail system, which was commissioned in 1988, is maintained to operated at high standards of safety, reliability and punctuality.
Explaining the contingency measures deployed after the incident, the spokesman said that announcements to passengers were made within three minutes after the occurrence of the incident, and the first relief bus was deployed in 18 minutes.
A total of 27 buses were used to carry passengers at approximately three-minute interval along the Castle Peak Road corridor where Light Rail service, covering five stops, was suspended. Apart from the initial 45 minutes when the bus fleet was being mobilised, passengers generally needed not wait for the service. Normal Light Rail service for passengers travelling within Tuen Mun and in Tin Shui Wai/Yuen Long, were maintained during the incident.
On the occasional need for Light Rail drivers to manually set points at rail crossings, the spokesman said, the Light Rail system has a complex network track layout with over 160 points. These are all automatically operated to set the correct path for a train, and are operated to very high standards of reliability of 99.98%. However, with over 15,000 movements over the points daily, on the rare occasions of unsuccessful electronic detection or obstruction by foreign objects at the points, the safe and efficient way to tackle this and avoid service delay is for the driver to operate the points manually.
The spokesman stressed, however, the incident yesterday has nothing to do with the manual operation of points.