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  • Dec 24, 2014
  • Updated: 5:15am
NewsHong Kong

Wan Chai could get three more stations as part of MTR shake-up

District could get three new stations and trains might no longer run the length of Island Line

PUBLISHED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 22 February, 2013, 10:10am

Three stations would be built in or close to Wan Chai if a proposal to construct a new rail line is adopted to ease congestion.

Under one of two options, trains would cease running the full length of the MTR's Island Line. Passengers boarding in the eastern part of Hong Kong Island would have to change trains to reach Wan Chai and Central.

The plan is one of seven proposals put forward in the second stage of a public consultation about long-term railway development. The consultation will last three months.

It puts forward two options for creating a North Island line. Under one of these options, stations on the existing Island Line would be divided between the Tseung Kwan O Line, on which trains would run between Tseung Kwan O and Kennedy Town, and the Tung Chung Line, on which trains would run from Tung Chung to Chai Wan.

Three new stations - Tamar, Exhibition (for the Convention and Exhibition Centre), and Causeway Bay North - would be on the Tung Ching Line.

Passengers boarding in Eastern District for travel to Fortress Hill and beyond on what is now the Island Line would have to change to a Tung Chung Line train at North Point; if the current service frequency on the latter were maintained, they could face a wait of several minutes for a connecting train.

The other proposal for a North Island line would see Tseung Kwan O Line trains running to and from Tamar along the new route, with an interchange at Tamar to the Tung Chung Line. Island Line trains would run between Chai Wan and Kennedy Town. A consultants' report said this option would do less to ease congestion.

As for the western part of the South Island Line, the government hopes to gauge opinion on the merits of splitting its construction into two phases - linking Wong Chuk Hang and Wah Fu Estate first, and then Wah Fu to the University of Hong Kong.

Transport analyst Dr Hung Wing-tat, of Polytechnic University, said the new railways would cut the percentage of commuters taking buses but the actual number of bus users might not drop because of population growth.

Southern district councillors from the Democratic Party said the proposed South Island Line was shorter and had fewer stations than when it was first proposed in 2004. They said building its western section in phases was ridiculous. Construction would take more than 20 years and create long-lasting inconvenience.

Eastern District councillor Patrick Leung Siu-sun was worried more people would take the Island Line to cross the harbour if an extra line was built, making Tai Koo station even more crowded because more people would be using the MTR.

Lawmaker Gary Fan Kwok-wai said the priority should be on building the South Island Line section linking Wah Fu and Wong Chuk Hang, as there were many low-income families in the district who relied on public transport.

Undersecretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu said that after the second-stage consultation ended, the government would ask its consultant to collate public opinion and make recommendations. The process should be completed this year.



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Good idea, but would we want a modern, efficient, airconditioned tram at ground level or the quaint cheap tourist attraction which is the current tram. Given the MTR is very efficient, albeit for journeys greater than 1 or 2 stops, I think the latter is what HK needs rather than loose another one of it's 'old charms'.
A metro system, by virtue of it's massive capital cost, needs to be designed for the majority rather than a few.
Clear the roads of competing traffic and introduce road pricing on the surface traffic in the CBD will reduce the volume of traffic accordingly - then jumping on the current tram, in a cab or even walking for 1 stop would be more pleasant.
MTR is currently building the Shatin to central line. Meaning the number of people switching at the east rail line will reduce by about 30% or more in 2018. Will also drastically reduce busses in Kowloon / NT as they will become feeder busses.
MTR is the future. Say goodbye to choking black smoke from busses, bus jams and ridiculous bus driving.
Great that they are planning more MTR stations. This will mean less busses, quieter roads and less pollution. Good job MTR as always.
Way forward is to restrict the bus routes so these bring passengers to the MTR rather than compete along the same routes. If you look down Hennessy Road from Causeway Bay to Admiralty at rush hour there are long lines of full / half-empty buses - this is replicating the system that's 30 metres below ground. Buses should be used to feed the MTR not mimic it at ground level.
Whose plan for railway development is this? The MTRs plan? The government's plan? Or a joint plan? The reason I ask is that there is no discussion or consideration of surface trains/trams. The MTR does not appeal to people taking short trips from say Causeway Bay to Central or Sheung Wan. The time to get to the underground station, wait for the train, travel, then go back up again is too long for short journeys. So buses, taxis and our slow tram are used for these.
The solution is higher speed trams on dedicated lines, i.e. to upgrade our current tram or build a new one as is done in Europe. At present, buses clog the streets, but if buses were reduced, a higher speed, modern, air conditioned tram could run from Causeway Bay or Tin Hau to Sheung Wan. This would likely eliminate the need for a second MTR Island line and get rid of most of the buses.
But the bus companies are owned by powerful people and the MTR is owned by the government, so unless the MTR is keen on surface trams, it will never happen, even though it makes the most sense. A higher speed tram should have been installed a decade ago on the Island and one for Kowloon.
But anyone who has been in an MTR station during peak hours knows that the existing MTR infrastructure is inadequate and overcrowded. This has only worsened as many of the stations have lost space to more and more commercial space. A walk through from the East Rail Line to the Kwun Tong line is a nightmare when full of commuters. Just imagine that space, and others, having their numbers increased by any significant percentage. What is MTR Corp doing to improve their stations' capacity?
You still need the buses. You cannot expect the elderly to walk up to half a kilometre to and from MTR stations and the MTR is impracticable for only short hops of one or two stops. There has to be complementary bus service although these many of these buses could be non-polluting electric trolly buses. Better still, a modern tram service like those operated in many European cities. They also need a dedicated lane for the entire route to avoid traffic congestion so the answer is to get the private cars and vans off the down-town roads. This will much cheaper than more MTR tunnelling. Many of the down-town stations are already extremely inconvenient for passengers to board trains, needing several minutes walk just to reach platforms.


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