New line can ease MTR congestion

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 11 February, 2014, 3:41am
UPDATED : Friday, 14 February, 2014, 5:33pm

The article "Is the MTR too much of a tight squeeze?" (January 24) highlights future capacity problems on the trains based on the anticipated increase in tourists during the next decade.

However, there are potentially greater concerns in the more immediate future from an increase in commuters as a result of MTR extensions and new lines now under construction.

All of these lines will impact negatively to a greater or lesser extent on the interchange at Admiralty, which is already near capacity in the peak hours.

Despite the substantial reconstruction of Admiralty station, it's not feasible to significantly increase the number of trains on the Island and Tseun Wan lines, or to lengthen them in order to provide increased capacity.

These lines are already amongst the heaviest utilised passenger railways in the world.

The future South Island and Sha Tin to Central lines will terminate at Admiralty resulting in exceptional additional passenger flows at the station.

The West Island Line will exacerbate loading on the western section of the Island Line which at present delivers relatively empty trains into Central and Admiralty from Sheung Wan.

If these trains arrive in Admiralty near capacity in the peak, the transfer from the Tseun Wan line will risk complete seizure: trains from Tseun Wan to Central may then be prevented from stopping at Admiralty due to safety concerns.

The Kwun Tong Line extension from Whampoa will increase loading on the Tseun Wan line south from Yau Ma Tei.

The future concerns, therefore, appear to be the southern section of the Tseun Wan Line; capacity problems at Admiralty interchange and future loading on the Island Line between Admiralty and Wan Chai.

One solution to relieve these hotspots is to construct a new north-south urban line from Mong Kok to Tsim Sha Tsui (East) extending under the harbour to an interchange at Wan Chai and terminating in Happy Valley.

Northeast from Mong Kok, the line could be extended to Yau Yat Chuen and Kowloon Tong terminating in Diamond Hill or Tsz Wan Shan.

The most critical section of the new line, between Mong Kok and Wan Chai, could be completed by 2020 prior to the impact of the Sha Tin to Central commuters on Admiralty station.

Without this, or a similar new line, it is difficult to see how increased passenger flows will be accommodated on the busiest sections of the MTR.

Michael Baxter, Tuen Mun