Train services between Kowloon Tong and Kwun Tong were suspended for half an hour on Wednesday after Hong Kong’s rail operator encountered a signalling fault near Choi Hung station.
The service disruption, which happened at about 2.15pm, also saw operations between Whampoa and Kowloon Tong, as well as between Kwun Tong and Tiu Keng Leng reduced to every 10 minutes.
As of 2.45pm, the MTR Corporation said the Kwun Tong line had been gradually resuming normal service – running every five minutes – after rail staff completed temporary repairs and confirmed train operation was safe.
Get the latest insights and analysis from our Global Impact newsletter on the big stories originating in China.
By about 4pm, the MTR Corp said the signalling fault near Choi Hung station had been completely repaired and journey times on the line were back to normal.
Prior to that, Whampoa-bound trains passing through the section between Choi Hung and Diamond Hill had been forced to slow down, stretching journeys by three to five minutes.
An MTR Corp spokeswoman said the project team staff were still investigating the incident.
“Our engineering staff are still looking into the cause, and will not rule out any technical or human factors,” the spokeswoman said.
A source said due to the signalling glitch, the driver needed to manually control the train, resulting in it running past a diversion point near Choi Hung station, where it was supposed to stop.
“Because of this, the repair staff needed to check thoroughly the diversion point to see if there was damage done to it. That’s why they suspended the train service,” he said.
The rail giant has encountered a series of signalling problems in recent months. A May trial run of the signalling system on the East Rail line during off-hours resulted in the automatic train supervision system experiencing a blackout, the line’s interlocking system shutting down and a test train running past a red signal.
In a report submitted to the government in August, the rail giant said the incidents were all caused by human or procedural errors, and noted no one was injured and no facilities were damaged. It also pledged to enhance staff training and conduct new tests on the signalling system.
The MTR Corp last week postponed the launch of a new batch of shorter trains on the East Rail line one day before they were due to go into service. Recent tests had revealed route-setting problems that might cause a train to deviate from its intended course and follow the route of a previous service to the wrong station.