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 17
Ridership 947,100 daily average (weekdays, September 2014)[1]
Opened 31 May 1985
Line length 16.3 km (10.1 mi)[2]
Track gauge 1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in)
Electrification 1.5 kV DC
Route map
Island Line.svg

turnback siding
Kennedy Town
Sai Ying Pun
Sheung Wan
Tung Chung Line to Tung Chung
Airport Express to AsiaWorld–Expo
Hong Kong          
Pedestrian tunnel within paid area
Tsuen Wan Line to Tsuen Wan
Wan Chai
Causeway Bay
Tin Hau
Fortress Hill
North Point     
Quarry Bay     
Tseung Kwan O Line to Po Lam/LOHAS Park
Tai Koo
Tai Koo siding
originally leading out to seashore[3]
Sai Wan Ho
Shau Kei Wan
Heng Fa Chuen
Chai Wan Depot
Chai Wan
overrun tracks
Island Line
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 Kennedy Town 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 16.3 kilometres (10.1 mi)[2] in 34 minutes along its route, serving 17 stations. 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.[4] 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.

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.

Construction commenced on the Island Line's western extension to Kennedy Town in 2009. The extension would also provide direct heavy rail connection to the western district of Hong Kong Island for the first time. New stations at Sai Ying Pun and HKU formed part the extension. On 28 December 2014, the extension opened to passenger services. However, Sai Ying Pun station opened on 29 March 2015 due to construction delays.

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.

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, which runs alongside Shing Tai Road, and which passes over Chai Wan Park and Island Eastern Corridor above ground, all the way to Chai Wan.

The route of the underground section of the line 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 a decision to save the tramline was made in 1980; and it serves as a backup in the event of service breakdown.

Because of the depth of the line, most underground stations on this line (except Kennedy Town, HKU, Sai Ying Pun, 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 and Kennedy Town 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 at Kennedy Town, HKU, Sai Ying Pun, North Point, Quarry Bay, Tai Koo, Heng Fa Chuen and Chai Wan.

All but two of the stations along the route have their Chinese 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.[5] 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 (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 colored box holding the station name represents the respective color for each station.

Livery & Name District Connection(s) Date opened
Island Line
Kennedy Town Central and Western 28 December 2014
HKU      South Island Line (West) (not yet opened)
Sai Ying Pun 29 March 2015
Sheung Wan
23 May 1986
Formerly Pedder
     Tsuen Wan Line
Hong Kong Station for      Tung Chung Line and      Airport Express
Admiralty      Tsuen Wan Line
     South Island Line (East)[Note 1]
     North South Corridor[Note 1]
31 May 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

Future development[edit]

Main article: Siu Sai Wan Station

Another proposal suggests the possibility of extending the Island Line eastwards towards Siu Sai Wan Station.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Under construction


  1. ^ "Weekday patronage of MTR heavy rail network from September 1 to 27 and September 28 to October 25, 2014" (PDF). Legislative Council. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  2. ^ a b "Island Line". Highways Department The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2015. 
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ Choi, Barry (24 December 1980). "Island Line gets go-ahead". South China Morning Post. 
  5. ^ "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. 
  6. ^ "Stage 2 Public Engagement Consultation Digest" (PDF). [dead link]