HONG KONG: A train collision disrupted services in Hong Kong on Monday (Mar 18), threatening commuter chaos during rush hour in the heart of the Asian financial hub, authorities said.
The drivers of both trains were taken to hospital, the network operator added, urging commuters to use other forms of travel or different rail routes.
The trains carried no passengers at the time of the collision which occurred during the trial run of a new signal system.
An investigation into the incident has begun.
The rare disruption on a network used by nearly 6 million people every weekday brought services to a halt between the stations of Central and Admiralty, rail operator MTR Corp said.
"The repair will take quite a long time and the service between Central and Admiralty ... will not be available for the whole day," its operations director, Lau Tin-shing, told a news briefing.
Emergency services arrived on the scene at around 3am and found that two trains had collided - one train bound for Central and another bound for Tsuen Wan, a representative from the fire department told reporters at a press conference.
Firefighters took away two people from the scene, with one driver suffering from a leg injury, he said.
Service on the Tsuen Wan Line between Admiralty Station and Central Station was suspended due to an incident near Central Station, according to the MTR corporation's website and Facebook page.
In a statement, the Hong Kong government expressed "great concern" over the collision and said MTR Corp has been requested to conduct a "thorough investigation into the cause of the incident".
"The Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, has already requested the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) to conduct thorough investigation into the cause of incident," said the statement. "Mr Chan has also relayed to the Chairman of MTRCL board, Professor Frederick Ma, the request to call an urgent board meeting."
The transport department is also closely monitoring traffic conditions and has coordinated other public transport operators to enhance service, added the statement.
Monday's incident comes nearly half a year after a signalling system failure on four major lines caused major travel disruption, affecting thousands of commuters.
MTR Corporation was penalised HK$8 million for the disruption on Oct 16 last year. An investigation into the incident found that the disruption was caused by differences between two groups of computers in use for the signalling systems of the four lines.