Future projects of the MTR
With the rail merger with the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation in 2007, the combined network increased to 211.6 kilometres (131.5 mi). Committed and future railway projects will increase the network to over 270 kilometres (170 mi) by 2019 while postponed projects may further increase it to over 300 kilometres (190 mi). Some other long term railway development possibilities should be further investigated if planning parameters change significantly.
- 1 Infrastructure upgrade
- 2 New lines
- 3 Long-term possibilities
- 4 Outsourcing
- 5 References
Platform screen doors and automatic platform gate
MTR has decided to install automatic platform gates on platforms of the stations of existing Ma On Shan Line and install platform screen doors in the stations of new East-west Line (part of Sha Tin to Central Link). The installation is expected to be completed in 2018.
East Rail Line stations renewal
East Rail Line (former KCR British Section) has been operating for more than one century. MTR has decided to renew 11 (above ground) stations on the system except the newest built ones. Refurbishment will be carried out under the motifs of nature and environmental protection. This project is expected to be complete in 2016.
West Island Line, South Island Line (East & West)
On 21 January 2003, the Executive Council of Hong Kong granted MTR Corporation Limited permission to proceed with further planning on two proposed lines: West Island Line and South Island Line. These new lines are suggested in the Second Railway Development Study (RDS-2) to provide direct links between the residential areas of Wah Fu and Ap Lei Chau in Southern District and the CBD of Hong Kong.
Three proposals were previously submitted, each addressing the drawbacks of the prior plan. In this planning stage a feasibility study was conducted to optimize the new lines in terms of cost-effectiveness, external benefits and the effect on other modes of transport. The plan was eventually turned down by the government in favour of constructing highways in late March 2004. The MTRC's fourth proposal was given in February 2005. This consisted of West Island Line extending the Island Line to Kennedy Town, South Island Line (East) from Admiralty to Ap Lei Chau and South Island Line (West) that connects the previous two lines. Legislative Councillors support an earlier completion of West Island Line. The West Island Line was finally approved by the HKSAR Government on 30 June 2005.
The 3-km West Island Line is expected to be completed in late 2014. Construction of the 7-km South Island Line (East) commenced in 2011 for completion in 2015, but the remaining 8-km west section will not be completed before 2020.
Sha Tin to Central Link and Kwun Tong Line Extension
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation won the bid to build and operate the Sha Tin to Central Link in 2002. The KCRC announced modification to the proposal. An 11 km Tai Wai to Hung Hom section connecting the Ma On Shan Line with the Kowloon Southern Link which connects to the West Rail Line will form the East-west Line while a 6 km cross-harbour section extending the East Rail Line to Hong Kong Island will form the North-South Line.
Another proposal was floated by the MTR to extend the existing Kwun Tong Line to Whampoa Garden in Hung Hom. The 3 km extension will run from the current Yau Ma Tei terminus to Whampoa, with an interchange station with the Shatin to Central Link in Ho Man Tin.
Both projects now belong to the MTR after the 2007 rail merger. The section of the Sha Tin to Central Link between Tai Wai and Hung Hom is expected to open in 2018, and the remaining cross harbour section in 2020. The Kwun Tong Line Extension will also start operation 2015.
Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (Hong Kong Section)
The Hong Kong Section of the Express Rail Link (XRL) will be a 26 km long underground high-speed rail linking Hong Kong with the national express rail network. The journey time to Guangzhou and Beijing will be reduced to 48 minutes and 10 hours respectively. A terminus will be located under the West Kowloon Cultural District and parallel to the West Kowloon Station. The high-speed rail will not share its tracks with the West Rail Line and the Northern Link. The tracks are designed to support future operations which include frequent services and linking Hong Kong with other Chinese major cities at 250–350 km/h.
The proposal was submitted by MTR in June 2007 and funding of the Hong Kong Section was subject to furious debate in the Legislative Council. The final decision was made on 15 January 2010, when the Legislative Council approved HK$66.9 billion (US$8.6 billion) in funding, by 31 votes to 21. The XRL is expected to be completed in 2015, which will have been 4 years behind the progress of the Guangshen Section in the Mainland.
The Northern Link will provide a cross-boundary link for the West Rail Line and create a new railway corridor between the West Rail Line and the East Rail Line in northern New Territories. The completion of the project is likely to be deferred to 2020 because the government will not build two dedicated tracks for both the Express Rail Link and the Northern Link. The Express Line has taken priority over a rail line to service the commuting needs of the Western population of Hong Kong. Given the Express Line will mainly be used by commuters the Northern Link may not now be viable without substantial housing developments in the New Territories to assist in building costs.
North Island Line
North Island Line involves the merging of the Island Line with the Tung Chung Line and the Tseung Kwan O Line. Its feasibility mainly depends on the development along the new coastline of the Victoria Harbour. It was previously rumoured that the completion of the project was deferred to beyond 2020 (exclusive). However, the gazettal of Exhibition Station, part of the future North-south line, has suggested that the completion of the station in 2020 might have the entire North Island line completed concurrently with the North-south line.
Some rail schemes were suggested in the Railway Development Strategy 2000 and they should be further investigated if planning parameters change significantly. For example, the East-West Kowloon Link would provide a shortcut between Mong Kok and Kwun Tong while the Chek Lap Kok Link would provide a path between the Airport and Tuen Mun. This proposal was renamed Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Express Railway in a 2011 study and expanded to allow for air-rail intermodal transfer between HKIA and Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport, cross border travel from western areas of Shenzhen and western areas of Hong Kong and domestic travel between northern Lantau Island and the North West New Territories.
Other studied areas for expansion include possible short extensions of the Tung Chung Line towards new development areas within Tung Chung and the West Rail Line towards the Tuen Mun Ferry Pier. Also an additional station on the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line at Kwu Tung has also been proposed as a single proposal, it has previously been included within the Northern Link project.
The MTR Corporation is planning to outsource its services centres of 14 stations on the Island Line. Around 100 employees will be arranged to work at the Disneyland Resort Line and the AsiaWorld-Expo station. Services centres on the new stations of Tseung Kwan O Line are already outsourced when it started its service.
- Press Release 0848 MTR Corporation (Chinese)
- More facilities set for MTR stations
- New MTR Train in service from 7 December 2011
- "Projects - Shatin to Central Link". MTR Corporation. Retrieved 2008-09-25.
- "The Shatin to Central Link". http://www.mtr-shatincentrallink.hk.