On Thursday I was on the southbound KCR (sorry, that’s the MTR East Rail Line) when the train came to a halt in the Beacon Hill Tunnel just north of Kowloon Tong station.
Cue the usual announcement about a train being in the platform at the next station, but it soon became apparent that this was something more serious. The MTR website eventually announced that there was “a trespasser at Kowloon Tong station”, though there was a less euphemistic version (now deleted) from @mtrupdate (an unofficial source of news about the MTR train service).
After about 25 minutes the train reversed slowly back to Tai Wai station, where there was no service in either direction and long queues for taxis.
The Hong Kong Standard managed this top quality piece of journalism:
Train services on East Rail Line were disrupted for about 30 minutes after a man in his 50s fell onto the tracks at Kowloon Tong station.
The middle-aged man was certified dead by emergency services at the scene.
At about 13:46pm this afternoon, the MTR Corporation said normal train service is gradually resuming after the person has been removed from the track area at the station.
Trains between Hung Hom and Sha Tin station were suspended.
The grammar! The tenses! “13:46 pm this afternoon”. And the interruption was actually close to an hour, rather than 30 minutes. But I can’t find anything at all from the SCMP.
When does the MTR plans to install platform screen doors on the East Rail line? It seems that this will have to wait for the much-delayed (and misleadingly named) Sha Tin to Central link:
Sunday, 14 December, 2014
Delays to the long-awaited Sha Tin-to-Central link could have a human cost, suicide-prevention experts warned as they called on the MTR Corporation to speed up installation of platform safety doors at stations.
A total of 22 stations on the East Rail and Ma On Shan lines still lack doors, leaving open access to the track. They will be installed as part of the work on the new railway, which is due to open in 2018 but is behind schedule.
From 2005 to April this year, 27 people took their own lives on stations run by the former KCR - including all of those without platform doors. In the same period, Transport Bureau figures show, nine people killed themselves at other MTR stations, with none since 2011.
[..] A spokeswoman for the MTR said gates would be installed on the two lines during the Sha Tin-to-Central project, which would involve platform modifications and a new signalling system.
"As some East Rail Line stations are about 100 years old, the platform structure has to be strengthened and the curvature at some platforms has to be adjusted," she said.
But with the HK$80 billion project 11 months behind schedule - in part because of the discovery of relics at the To Kwa Wan station site - Yip fears more unnecessary deaths.
"We have talked to the MTR for almost a decade and it is a matter of urgency now," he said. "When you go to Kowloon Tong or Sha Tin, there is quite a bit of risk … there are more cases at these two stations."
Kowloon Tong station is less than 40 years old (and very busy), so why not start there?