• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 6:56am

Kai Tak monorail a bad idea

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 14 May, 2013, 2:57am

Several major concerns have recently been expressed by readers in connection with the proposed monorail at Kai Tak.

However, none of these were raised in the letter by Norman Y. S. Heung, project manager, Kowloon Development Office of the Civil Engineering and Development Office ("Practically impossible to accommodate tram system at Kai Tak", May 7).

By far the most important is the safety of the system. In the case of fire or a breakdown of a monorail vehicle there is no ready means of escape unless it is located close to a station. Access to a train stuck over the nullah would be virtually impossible. For this reason it is unlikely that a monorail would be given an operating licence by the Hong Kong railway inspectorate (or its equivalent).

As many of the passengers from cruise liners will be elderly, it is not acceptable for them to queue for lifts to gain access to the monorail.

Those in wheelchairs or children in pushchairs would be virtually barred from using the service.

At the terminal stations, transferring passengers to the MTR above-ground stations would first be required to descend to street level from the monorail.

Presumably the proposals for a tramway would actually comprise a light railway (LRT) similar to those which are in operation in many European and US cities.

Mr Heung may be reassured that modern LRT systems are constructed through pedestrian malls, busy narrow streets (for example, Amsterdam) and along promenades (for example, Seville, Spain) where they operate in complete safety.

The "connectivity of the Kowloon East" central business district can best be served by an LRT system which can later be extended as a network into residential areas around Kwun Tong as demand increases. Basically, a monorail is confined to a single route. Modern light rail vehicles provide "low floor" access directly from street level for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

At busy times, they can be lengthened to accommodate more than 300 passengers if required; this is not possible with monorail trains.

Traffic congestion is not a concern; in the New Territories, the Tuen Mun LRT system operates through Yuen Long using staggered platforms to minimise road-take.

There is no evidence of traffic congestion there; car drivers either use alternative routes or leave their cars at home and use public transport.

Michael Ian Baxter, Tuen Mun


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This article is now closed to comments

I just re-read the letter from Norman Y. S. Heung and it really is a one sided approach to saying monorail and nothing else. Does he not understand that the people of Hong Kong don't want a monorail. I personally feel that a tram system is awesome in Kai Tak and is possible to implement.
Most of the tram runs through Kai Tak which is not even built yet thus no issue there. Kowloon Bay and Kwun Tong not suitable for a Tram? Come on has he ever been to Kowloon Bay industrial area? there is ample space to turn 11 road into a tram only road and not impact cars at all. Back there the roads are never busy with most empty 90% of the time.
The only traffic around there is cars lining up to park at Megabox. If trams are no good he can then recommend hybrid busses etc... between the stations and around Kai Tak.
Tram is the least suitable and least popular solution!! It will just be a big waste of money and space.
When I look at the picture of the monorail in Chongqing. All I can think is extremely ugly. I think the only ok looking monorail I saw 25 years ago at Disneyland Florida. I was a kid and it was something brand new and I was just a kid. Now it is outdated, proven to be **** and look horrible.
Toronto has something similar to a monorail between terminals and it also looks horrible. Bangkok one was also pointless.
Can't imagine who came up with the monorail idea.
John Adams
@IRDHK : I think your last line was meant to be MONORAIL is the least suitable and least popular solution !
Anyway, I agree with you 100%


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