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An MTR Corp official yesterday admitted that water seepage cannot be 100 percent prevented as he explained why the signaling system on the Express Rail line was affected on Friday.
The rail operator also admitted that there had been water leakage at the West Kowloon terminus last month due to a rainstorm. It was the third known incident since trials on the express rail started on April 1.
Water was seen dripping from the ceiling and puddles formed on the floor near the ticketing concourse on the basement floor of the terminus.
Francis Li Shing-kee, MTR chief of operations engineering, admitted that staff had spotted the leakage at 6pm that day.
Following an investigation, it was discovered that rainwater made its way into the terminus via electrical wire channels on the wall as wires were still being installed at the construction site.
Speaking on radio yesterday, Li said the incident did not affect facilities at the terminus. He added that once the wires had been installed, the holes on the wall would be immediately sealed.
He also provided a new reason for signal instability in Mai Po, saying there was dust and mud in the tunnel that stuck together when mixed with underground water, thus causing clogging of the drainage system.
Li said that since the tunnel was deep underground, "water seepage was not rare."
He said the seepage caused a drop in electrical resistance and signal instability.
He said it would be difficult for tunnels deep underground "to be 100 percent waterproof."
Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan said feedback from professional departments found Express Rail construction to be of "high quality."
"A little seepage and signal instability are inevitable in large-scale infrastructures, and it's most important to spot and fix them before they are formally put into use," Chan said.
Michael Tien Puk-sun, chairman of the Legislative Council Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways, said there was "wisdom in calling for trains to stop and for safety measures" as regard the signaling system.
This article first appeared on www.thestandard.com.hk
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