Hong Kong’s metro operator MTR has awarded a HK$6bn ($77m) contract to CSR Qingdao Sifang for the delivery of 93 new eight-car metro trainsets.
The new trains will replace all of the first-generation trains currently operating on the Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Island and Tseung Kwan O lines.
Equipped with more modern operating systems and equipment, the new trains are scheduled to be delivered to Hong Kong between 2018 and 2023.
MTR will also be responsible for the additional management and implementation costs of the replacement programme.
The contract was awarded following a rigorous tendering process, in which tenders from internationally renowned suppliers were thoroughly reviewed.
MTR chief executive officer Lincoln Leong said: "This is the largest-ever order of new trains in MTR’s history and it represents a critically important investment to maintain our railway service at world-class levels to ensure that our passengers in Hong Kong continue to enjoy safe, reliable and convenient train services well into the future."
"Originally, we had planned to replace 78 eight-car trains, which have been in service for about 30 years.
"But in view of the competitive tenders received and after weighing the benefits of having a uniform train fleet equipped with more up-to-date systems, we decided that it would be better value for money to exercise the option included in the tender to replace all 93 first-generation eight-car trains in one go."
The new trains will also feature dynamic route maps, improved lighting, double-branched handrails and soft material straphangers.
They will also be fully compatible with the new signalling system to be installed on the Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Island and Tseung Kwan O lines in the coming years.
As part of the deal, the supply, manufacture, testing and commissioning of the 93 eight-car trains will be carried out in accordance with MTR specifications, and under the rigorous design and manufacturing standards of MTR.
MTR operations director Jacob Kam said: "We will be working very closely with CSR Sifang to bring our passengers a new generation of high-quality trains that meet our requirements for safe and efficient operation.
"Following delivery of the trains to Hong Kong, rigorous testing and commissioning will be conducted before they are certified by the electrical and mechanical services department to enter service.
The first train is expected to enter passenger service by the end of 2018.