MTR adds eight-car trains to Hong Kong’s West Rail Line
HK$1 billion project launches on Jan 2 and will raise capacity by 14% by 2018
Train passengers travelling between Hung Hom and Tuen Mun can look forward to a less crowded ride as MTR Corporation gradually introduces eight-car trains on the West Rail Line starting next year.
From January 2, the first train with eight carriages will run on the line, after MTR first announced the decision to add an extra carriage to the existing seven-car trains last month.
“Gradually, with more eight-car trains, everyone will feel the change. It’s more spacious,” said MTR operations manager Allen Ding Ka-chun.
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Ding said the HK$1 billion project to add an extra carriage to the existing trains would not affect services, but it will take time as individual carriages will need to be unlinked and the new one added in the middle, with more than 1,000 cables having to be reconnected.
“It’s like a huge surgery,” said Ding.
When MTR finishes converting all 28 trains on the West Rail Line by 2018, he said, the carrying capacity of the line will increase by 14 per cent, which will help accommodate the increase in passengers when the Shatin to Central Link opens in 2019.
To help passengers cope with the transition, Ding said there will be more train assistants on duty with more information on display in waiting areas.
When the Shatin to Central Link opens, passengers from Tuen Mun in the west should be able to travel directly to Wu Kai Sha in the east.
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Student Wilson Hon, 17, welcomed MTR’s move but felt the extra car would not make a difference to him.
“I’ll still have to wait for the train, and it will still be crowded,” he said.
Another passenger, David Choi, 65, was waiting for his train at East Tsim Shai Tsui station, one of the West Rail Line’s 12 stops.
“It should be good. The trains are already quite congested now,” said Choi. “I hope they will add more carriages to other lines too.”
According to the Transport and Housing Bureau, the total traffic volume of the West Rail Line last year was 149.9 million passengers, measured by the number of people entering the line.