Editorial:Signalling fiasco recalls MTR's old problem

【明報專訊】THE MTR Corporation has put the launch of a new signalling system for the East Rail Line on hold at the last minute, raising much concern about its internal management, reporting mechanisms and the issue of MTR supervision. Safety is the most important thing for rail transport. As signalling systems are responsible for coordinating trains, they must be perfectly safe. The possibility of any train ''entering the wrong track'' following the signal command and requiring manual monitoring or other collision avoidance systems to ''remedy the situation'' is indeed unacceptable. However, the MTR Corp insists that the situation ''does not involve safety issues''. It was only after the government had learnt the situation just before the system's launch that the MTR Corp postponed the system's replacement at the eleventh hour. Not only is such treatment of the problem farcical, but it also gives the impression that the company is not being honest or open. The MTR Corp has been plagued with problems of internal management. Its untransparent culture has been criticised repeatedly. The latest incident inevitably invites doubts about whether it has learnt the lessons from the construction of the High-Speed Rail as well as the Shatin-Central link and whether it is determined to reform itself after those bitter lessons.