Island Line (MTR)

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Island Line
Causeway Bay Station 2013 part2.jpg
Type Heavy rail
System MTR
Locale Districts: Central and Western, Wan Chai, Eastern
Stations 14
Ridership 797,000 daily average (2010)[1]
Opening 31 May 1985
Line length 13 km (8.1 mi)
Track gauge 1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in)
Electrification 1.5 kV DC
Route map
Island Line.svg

km future turnback siding
Kennedy Town
Sai Ying Pun
0.0 current turnback siding
0.7 Sheung Wan
Tung Chung Line to Tung Chung
Airport Express to AsiaWorld–Expo
Hong Kong
1.5 Central
2.4 Admiralty
Tsuen Wan Line to Tsuen Wan
3.2 Wan Chai
4.4 Causeway Bay
5.3 Tin Hau
5.9 Fortress Hill
6.8 North Point
7.7 Quarry Bay
Tseung Kwan O Line to Po Lam/LOHAS Park
8.7 Tai Koo
Tai Koo siding
originally leading out to seashore[2]
9.4 Sai Wan Ho
10.3 Shau Kei Wan
11.5 Heng Fa Chuen
Chai Wan Depot
13.0 Chai Wan
13.2 overrun tracks
Island Line (MTR)
Traditional Chinese 港島綫
Simplified Chinese 港岛线

The Island Line is one of 10 lines of the MTR, the mass transit system in Hong Kong. It runs from Sheung Wan in the Central and Western District to Chai Wan in the Eastern District. The line first opened in 31 May 1985. It currently travels through 14 stations in 25 minutes along its route. The line is indicated by the colour blue on the MTR map.


The Hong Kong Government authorised the construction of the 13.1 km long Island Line in December 1980, after rejecting plans to extend the tram to Chai Wan. On 31 May 1985 the Island Line opened with services operating between Admiralty and Chai Wan stations. Services were then extended to Central and both Admiralty and Central stations became interchange stations with the Tsuen Wan Line. As part of this extension, each train was extended to eight cars in length. On 23 May 1986, the Island Line extended its reach to Sheung Wan station.

After the Kwun Tong Line was extended to Quarry Bay station on 1 October 1989, that station became an interchange station with the Island Line. In a response to passenger congestion at Quarry Bay station, the government recommended the Quarry Bay Congestion Relief Works project, and decided to expand North Point station to include a second interchange with the Kwun Tong Line, with construction starting in July 1998.

The North Point interchange opened on 27 September 2001, and proved to be a much more efficient method of interchanging, as the new station featured cross-platform interchange, reducing the time required to interchange from five minutes at Quarry Bay station to less than one minute. On 4 August 2002, North Point and Quarry Bay became interchange stations with the new Tseung Kwan O Line.

Route description[edit]

The Island Line is the MTR line that resembles the deep-level lines of the London Underground the most, as most of the route and stations along the line are deep underground and consist of cylindrical tunnels. This is the result of a lack of available land, as the construction plans for the line required it to be built under major roads.

The major roads that the Island Line runs under are:

Only the segment of the line east of Shau Kei Wan has space for track expansion and thus the line emerges to the surface at Heng Fa Chuen Station, and then on a viaduct, where is next to Shing Tai Road, and which goes through Chai Wan Park and Island Eastern Corridor above the ground, all the way to Chai Wan.

The route of the underground section of the line (as well as the upcoming extension to Kennedy Town) is also served by local trams at surface level. This brought concerns that the tram system might be abolished when the MTR line was to be built, but however this was saved in the year 1980; and also known that this is a backup in the event of service breakdown.

Because of the depth of the line, most underground stations on this line (except Admiralty, Shau Kei Wan and Tai Koo) have curved walls on the platforms, which are due to the routes' cylindrical tunnels, only with a greater diameter. Of the underground stations not bearing this feature, Tai Koo Station is itself a large tube containing both the concourse and the platform, while Shau Kei Wan, Admiralty, Central stations are built using the cut-and-cover method.

Because most stations were built under roads, most of the platforms are curved, and the platform gaps are large, except North Point, Quarry Bay, Tai Koo, Heng Fa Chuen and Chai Wan.

All but two of the stations along the route have their station names written in Chinese calligraphy as part of the stations' livery. The only stations that do not have this feature are Heng Fa Chuen and Chai Wan, which are also the only above-ground stations. A retired architect involved in the design of the Island Line explained that calligraphy are written in large fonts to alleviate the psychological effect caused by the narrow platforms and the curvature of the walls, in addition to remind passengers what this stop is.[3] This explains why Heng Fa Chuen and Chai Wan stations do not have calligraphy forming part of its livery, as they are built above-ground. This feature is also shared amongst some newer MTR stations such as those on the Tseung Kwan O Line and Lam Tin Station on the Kwun Tong Line.

Also, due to geographical problems, the platforms of stations on this line (Central, Wan Chai, Causeway Bay, Tin Hau and Sai Wan Ho) are located on two different levels. This also makes the platform and concourse separated in two parts, so there are some passageways and long escalators on those stations to link between the platform and concourse.

Geographically accurate map of the MTR Island Line


This is a list of all the stations on the Island Line. The coloured boxes holding the station names represent the respective colour motif for the station.

Livery and Name District Connection(s) Date opened
Island Line
Kennedy Town[N 1] Central and Western December 28, 2014[4][N 1]
HKU[N 1]
Sai Ying Pun[N 1]
Sheung Wan
Formerly Rumsey
May 23, 1986
Formerly Pedder
 Tsuen Wan Line
Hong Kong Station for the  Tung Chung Line and  Airport Express
Admiralty  Tsuen Wan Line
 South Island Line (East)[N 1]
 North South Corridor[N 1]
May 31, 1985
Wan Chai Wan Chai
Causeway Bay
Tin Hau
Fortress Hill Eastern
North Point  Tseung Kwan O Line
Quarry Bay
Tai Koo
Sai Wan Ho
Shau Kei Wan
Heng Fa Chuen
Chai Wan
  1. ^ a b c d e f Under construction

Future development[edit]

In 2002, the MTRC announced that it would use HK$300 million to construct the West and South Island Lines, provided that the Government would award subsidies towards the project. No sooner, in May 2002, the first proposal from the MTRC detailed an extension towards Kennedy Town. However the plan was abruptly brought to a halt due to land reclamation obstacles on the western coast of Hong Kong Island, and the enormous cost and uncertainties concerning the Hong Kong Government's subsidies for the project. However, the current plan for the new lines to the Southern District would require parts of the Western extension in order for it to be completed. As a result, the MTR Corporation was conducting extensive surveys as well as public forums to gather opinion and suggestions concerning the alignment of the extension and location of the Sai Ying Pun, Shek Tong Tsui and Kennedy Town stations for the West Island Line.

(note: The latest proposal has changed the name of the station University to Shek Tong Tsui, since the panel has unanimously agreed that MTR stations should be named after districts, rather than after public infrastructures or landmarks.[citation needed] However, this does not apply to the Airport Express Line.)

According to implementation options revealed by the MTRC in February 2005, the Island Line will be extended to Kennedy Town, and the South Island Line (West Section) to begin at University station. This option suggests there would be two stations in the areas of Shek Tong Tsui and Sai Ying Pun, between Kennedy Town and Sheung Wan on the West Island Line.

As of 30 June 2005, the MTR Corporation Limited has been given approval to extend the existing Island Line to Kennedy Town, along with two intermediate stations at Sai Ying Pun and University (Shek Tong Tsui). The extension would be approximately 3 km long, making the Island Line the lengthiest urban line (16.1 km) and the one with the most stations (17 stations).

If the North Island Line is built along the northern shore of Hong Kong Island, which will be built in 2022, the Island Line will be split in two; the section from Sheung Wan to Tin Hau will be taken over by the Tseung Kwan O Line, and the Tung Chung Line will oversee operation of the section from Fortress Hill to Chai Wan.

Another proposal suggests the possibility of extending the Island Line eastwards towards Siu Sai Wan Station.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Daily average patronage and train loading on MTR Railway Lines in 2005 to 2010". HKSAR Government. 8 June 2011. Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  2. ^ The siding at Tai Koo used to lead all the way out to the seashore, in order to facilitate the moving in of rolling stock, and to connect to a temporary depot used before the one at Chai Wan was opened. Most of the tracks have been removed and the tunnel filled in for the construction of Lei King Wan.
  3. ^ "地鐵書法家寫出人生安慰獎.港島線各站大字 陪伴港人20年 (lit. Life consolation prize to MTR calligrapher. Island Line calligraphy lives with Hongkonger for 20 years.)". Ming Pao. 23 October 2006. 
  4. ^ "MTR Island Line Extends to HKU and Kennedy Town Stations From 28 December 2014". 10 December 2014. Retrieved 18 December 2014. 
  5. ^ "Stage 2 Public Engagement Consultation Digest".