Ngong Ping 360

Ngong Ping 360 cable car on track for June reopening amid race to beat Hong Kong’s typhoon season

Aerial tramway on Lantau Island closed since January for HK$80 million cable replacement work

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2017, 5:59pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 26 April, 2017, 8:51pm

The Ngong Ping 360 cable car, one of Hong Kong’s most popular tourist attractions, is on track to reopen in June after a five-month closure for rope replacement work.

The 5.7km aerial tramway on Lantau Island has been shut since January to replace the cables, which reached the end of their lifespan after a decade of operation.

Weller Chan, project manager for the work, said it had not exceeded its initial budget of HK$80 million despite weather challenges and limited space for workers due to the location in a country park.

He said the project must be completed before the typhoon season hits the city in the summer to ensure the safety of workers.

The project included replacing a 10km haul rope, which pulls the cabins, and a 14km track rope which supports their weight.

Construction work for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge also added to difficulties with the project, Chan said. Work on the bridge occupied a site near the airport that could have been used for a rope pulley for the cable car. A boat had to be deployed instead to position the machinery.

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“If the weather conditions remain stable, the project is expected to be completed in late May,” Chan said.

Dozens of experts from overseas were drafted in from Switzerland, Germany, Italy and Australia to help with the cable replacement project. All of them are staying in nearby hotels.

During the construction period, visitors who wish to see the city’s famed Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery on Lantau have to take a bus or taxi from Tung Chung. The cable car operator expected a 40 per cent drop in visitor numbers this year due to the closure.

Despite economic weakness in Hong Kong’s tourism sector, the operator enjoyed 5.5 per cent growth in visitors last year thanks to strong online ticket sales and a rise in arrivals from across the Asia region.