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Passengers force open train doors

Top News | Sum Lok-kei Jan 12, 2018
Frustrated passengers on two trains near Fo Tan and Fan Ling forced opened the doors and descended onto the tracks during the two-hour stoppage.

MTRCL head of operations Francis Li said their action was unnecessary as the ventilation and broadcasting systems were working adequately. "For your own safety, do not open the train doors and enter the tracks," Li said.

With some passengers having strayed onto the tracks, he said railway staff had to check and make sure no one remained there before stranded trains could be driven to the nearest stations.

Li emphasized that passengers should consider their own safety. "In that situation, there was no need to leave using the train doors. They should have waited for our staff to arrange for trains to enter the platform and leave then."

A passenger stranded between Fo Tan and University station disputed that the broadcasting systems on trains were functional during the incident, saying there was "radio silence" for 30 minutes.

"At first the train captain said it was a minor signaling fault, but then there was no broadcast for 30 minutes. So I called on him using the emergency call button, and he said there was nothing he could do," said the passenger, surnamed Wong.

He said he was stranded for close to an hour even though the train was just "10 seconds away" from the platform at Fo Tan station.

Hong Kong Federation of Railway Trade Unions chairman Thomas Lam Shiu-wai said it was "definitely unsafe" to walk on the railway tracks. Although the trains were stationary at the time, there were obstacles, including electrical wires, on the tracks.

Lam said since the train captain was the only MTRCL staff on board, he may have been too preoccupied to give constant updates on the broadcast system.

But Lam agreed there was room for improvement. He suggested introducing a pre-recorded message that could be broadcast on the train to keep passengers updated.

While train doors can be opened by passengers, Lam said this should only be done in an emergency, such as when a fire breaks out.

According to the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, emergency exit doors on MTR trains should only be used under the direction of railway staff or emergency service personnel in the event of an evacuation.

Sum Lok-kei

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October 2018