Hong Kong MTR doubling capacity on Ma On Shan Line by converting to eight-car trains
Testing is to run from late November between Tai Wai and Wu Kai Sha
Eight-car trains will gradually replace the four-car configurations on the MTR’s Ma On Shan Line in the coming year in preparation for the railway operator’s future East West Corridor.
When the conversion is finished by the end of next year, the line running between Tai Wai and Wu Kai Sha will see its capacity double.
Allen Ding Ka-chun, operations manager for the East Rail Line, revealed testing was due to begin in late November and carry on for two to three months to make sure the new signalling system is up to scratch.
While the trial run will only be carried out after service hours, boarding positions for the current four-car trains are to be adjusted. The operator dismissed nearby residents’ concerns about late-night noise, saying the tests would comply with environmental regulations.
Two of the trains have already been converted, with 13 more on the way.
The converted eight-car trains will be deployed to the network and run alongside the four-car counterparts. Each eight-car train takes about a month to fully convert, Ding said.
“The conversion is more than just attaching four extra cars to the trains,” he said. “We need to disconnect the systems and equipment before reconnecting them. It’s like performing a sophisticated operation on a human being.”
Ding added that giant colour-coded signage and additional station assistants would help guide passengers to the right positions on the Ma On Shan line’s 18 platforms.
Screen doors are also to be installed along the line on a staggered basis over the coming year.
Under the MTR’s plan, the Ma On Shan Line is to be integrated with the East and West Rail lines by 2019 to form the East West Corridor.
The conversion of West Rail Line trains from seven-car to eight-car configurations is already under way.