20 October 2003
Opening of West Rail
The following is the statement made by the KCRC Chairman, Mr Michael Tien at today’s meet the media session:
"Today, I would like to talk about the opening of West Rail. West Rail has been undergoing trial runs for several months. Mr Y T Li is in charge of the testing. He is now with us to answer your questions.
"Although we have not formally announced the opening date of West Rail, I hinted in mid-September that there was hope to open West Rail towards the end of November at the earliest. At that time, as solutions were found to the earth return and surge arrestor problems, we were confident that the six-week countdown could begin towards the end of September. If everything went well that way, West Rail would be formally opened in November. Although since the end of September, the test runs have become more stable after improvements were made to the surge arrestors, in the past few days, the reliability and punctuality of the trial runs have not been consistently stable. Problems associated with the signalling system and its interfacing with other systems still exist. In general, these are classified as software and hardware problems.
It would take time to debug and fine-tune the software. Since July, the supplier has upgraded the software seven times. Debugging has completed. We are now in the process of fine-tuning the software.
With regard to the hardware, in order to test the performance of the improved surge arrestors under maximum loading, we carried out five days of stress tests in October.  As I have mentioned earlier, the results showed that the earth return and surge arrestor problems have been resolved.  As the tests were carried out under very severe conditions, it caused overloading problems to some of the other hardware. It would take time to upgrade and replace these hardware. It is a matter of time and I am confident that these problems could be resolved.
"Owing to the software and hardware problems, the six-week countdown cannot begin now. In other words, it would not be possible to open West Rail for revenue operation before the end of November.
"We have been giving you an impression that West Rail would be opened in September, October or November. It is disappointing that we would not be able to make it now. I am sorry about that. But, it remains our target to open West Rail before the end of this year. I would like to stress that West Rail would be opened only when there is a continuing steady performance in terms of punctuality and reliability in a six-week period.
"I will brief you as soon as there is new progress."