Hong Kong Secretary for Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao Wednesday urged the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) to improve its inspections and overhaul procedures and staff training to enhance crack-detection effectiveness.
It should also develop an integrated asset-management system, she added.
A hairline crack was firstly discovered in the underframe equipment of an East Rail on Dec. 21 last year. Similar problems were found later in other East Rails. The government appointed a review panel to investigate the incident.
Announcing the government's assessment of the East Rail's underframe equipment-mounting problem Wednesday, Liao said the scope of the KCRC's investigation was comprehensive and it had taken a scientific approach in identifying the root causes of the incident.
The government accepts the KCRC's explanation that excessive vertical vibration trains experienced was one of the dominant causes. It led to the material fatigue that caused cracks to appear in the underframe equipment.
The inferior quality of welding at the equipment brackets, for example, poor welding fusion, could be another dominant cause of the fleet-wide problem, Liao added.
She said the Government has made 18 recommendations to the KCRC for improvement as it attached great importance to railway safety and reliability. They include enhancing crack identification and management during maintenance, ongoing monitoring of the trains' and tracks' conditions, and expediting the development of a formal and fully integrated asset-management system.
The Railway Inspectorate will monitor the KCRC's implementation of the required improvement measures and require the corporation to regularly report the work progress, Liao added.
(Xinhua News Agency July 13, 2006)