HONG KONG: A rare metro train derailment in Hong Kong on Tuesday (Sep 17) injured at least eight people and disrupted two rail lines during rush hour in the heart of the Asian financial hub.
Five hundred passengers were evacuated from the train. Eight passengers reported injuries when they arrived at the concourse of the station, according to authorities.
The disruption to a usually seamless network used by nearly six million people every weekday happened after a train derailed while leaving a station in the city's Kowloon area, rail operator MTR said.
The incident occurred near Hung Hom station - a busy interchange that provides services to mainland China - causing the East Rail Line to be momentarily suspended, according to the MTR Service Update Twitter account. The West Rail Line suffered severe delays as a result.
Run by MTR employees, MTR Service Update provides unofficial updates on train operations.
Images from the scene showed three carriages had left the tracks and were zigzagged across the rails.
Passengers had to leave the train through a broken door and cross tracks on the East Rail line to make their way to safety.
Nearby stations were overcrowded with a backlog of trains unable to move, and trains which normally run at two minute intervals were delayed to run at 12 minute intervals.
Subway services between two stations on the line were suspended and intercity services to mainland Chinese cities including Guangzhou, Dongguan and Beijing were cancelled for the day, according to MTR.
Shares of MTR fell 1.1 per cent in line with the broader Hang Seng Index which was down 1 per cent.
Hong Kong's rail system has been a target of vandalism during protests in the city with activists angry that MTR has closed stations to stop protesters gathering.
The cause of the derailment was still under investigation but there was no immediate suggestion of foul play.
"We would not rule out any possibility but at this stage we won't speculate on any particular suggestions," the city's transport chief Frank Chan told reporters in a presser.
Lau Tin-shing, operations director of the city's only rail company, the MTR Corporation, told media that a short section of the track nearby had been replaced on Monday and the condition of the replacement is "not unusual", according to his visual assessment.
Public broadcaster RTHK said the train suddenly swayed and a door flew off before the train stopped.
In March, an MTR locomotive derailed and crashed into another train during the testing of a new signalling system.
Both trains were badly damaged and the two train drivers suffered only minor injuries. No passengers were on the trains at the time.