Tung Chung line

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Tung Chung line
東涌綫
V801-V601 MTR Tung Chung Line 22-06-2020.jpg
A Tung Chung line A-train approaching Sunny Bay station, bound for Hong Kong
Overview
StatusOperational
OwnerMTR Corporation
LocaleDistricts: Central and Western, Yau Tsim Mong, Sham Shui Po, Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan, Islands
Termini
Connecting lines
Stations8
Color on map     Orange
Service
TypeRapid transit
SystemMTR
Operator(s)MTR Corporation
Depot(s)Siu Ho Wan
Rolling stock
Ridership236,900 daily average
(weekdays, September 2014)[1]
History
Opened21 June 1998; 24 years ago (1998-06-21)
Technical
Line length31.1 km (19.3 mi)
Track gauge1,432 mm (4 ft 8+38 in)
Electrification1.5 kV DC
Operating speed
  • Average: 80 km/h (50 mph)
  • Maximum: 135 km/h (84 mph)[2]
Route map
Tung Chung Line.svg

Tamar     
Hong Kong     
Kowloon     
Olympic
Nam Cheong     
Lai King     
Tsing Yi     
Sunny Bay     
Siu Ho Wan depot
Oyster Bay[3]
Tung Chung East
Tung Chung
Tung Chung West
Tung Chung line
Traditional Chinese東涌綫
Simplified Chinese东涌线
Literal meaningEast (of a) branch of a river line

The Tung Chung line is one of the ten lines of the MTR system in Hong Kong, linking the town of Tung Chung with central Hong Kong. A part of the Tung Chung line was built along with the Kap Shui Mun Bridge and the Tsing Ma Bridge. The line currently travels through eight stations in 31 minutes along its route. The line is coloured orange on the map.

History[edit]

In October 1989, the Hong Kong government announced plans to build a new airport on the remote island of Chek Lap Kok to replace the overcrowded Kai Tak International Airport at the heart of Kowloon.

As part of the initiative, the government invited the MTR Corporation to build a rail link to the new airport dubbed the Lantau Airport Railway. The project initially saw opposition from the Chinese government as it feared the construction would drain the monetary reserve of the Hong Kong government and leave the Chinese with nothing after the British handed the territory over in 1997.

Both the Chinese and British governments reached an agreement and construction commenced in November 1994.

The Lantau Airport rail link consists of two train lines, the Tung Chung line and the Airport Express. Both lines deploy the same rolling stock with minor differences in interior fittings and liveries.

On 21 June 1998, the Tung Chung line was officially opened by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, and service commenced the next day.

On 16 December 2003, an open house for charity took place at the recently completed Nam Cheong station, an interchange between the Tung Chung line and soon to be opened West Rail line. The station then closed on 19 December 2003 in preparation for the opening of the new West Rail line, and it was officially opened to public on 20 December 2003. Since then, the number of cars per train has increased from seven to eight to accommodate the additional patronage.

Sunny Bay station opened on 1 June 2005 as an interchange for the Disneyland Resort line. The resort opened its door two months after the station became operational.

Between 2006 and 2007, four new trains entered service to improve service frequency. The first train was delivered on 9 February 2006 and entered service on 12 June 2006. Modifications were added to the platforms to accommodate the new trains, which are a few millimetres wider than the original rolling stock.

Route map[edit]

MTR Tung Chung line and Airport Express route map

Route description[edit]

Unlike most other railway lines in the system, the Tung Chung line travels mostly above ground and spans a greater distance. The line shares its trackage with the Airport Express before diverging in Tung Chung.

The line travels underground from Hong Kong station to Kowloon station across the harbour, then surfaces to the ground to reach Olympic station. Trains continue to travel above ground along the West Kowloon Expressway and stops at Nam Cheong station, followed by Lai King station on a viaduct. Thereafter the line crosses the Rambler Channel and stops at Tsing Yi station on Tsing Yi Island.

Trains then enter a tunnel through the hills of the island and continues on the Tsing Ma Bridge and the Kap Shui Mun Bridge onto Lantau Island. The line continues along the North Lantau Expressway and stops at Sunny Bay before terminating at Tung Chung. The distance between the two stops is roughly 10 km and takes approximately 6 minutes to complete.

Some outbound trains do not continue to Lantau but terminate at Tsing Yi station due to the capacity constraint of the Tsing Ma Bridge which only allows one train to pass at all times.[4]

Stations[edit]

The following is a list of the stations on the Tung Chung line.

Livery and Station Name Connections Opening date District
English Chinese
Hong Kong 香港      Airport Express
Central station for      Tsuen Wan line and      Island line
22 June 1998 Central and Western
Kowloon 九龍      Airport Express Yau Tsim Mong
Olympic 奧運
Nam Cheong 南昌      Tuen Ma line 20 December 2003 Sham Shui Po
Lai King 茘景      Tsuen Wan line 10 May 1982 (Tsuen Wan line)
22 June 1998 (Tung Chung line)
Kwai Tsing
Tsing Yi 青衣      Airport Express 22 June 1998
Sunny Bay 欣澳      Disneyland Resort line 1 June 2005 Tsuen Wan
Tung Chung 東涌 Ngong Ping Cable Car 22 June 1998 Islands

Design limitations[edit]

When British Hong Kong was planning to build the Airport Railway (Tung Chung line and Airport Express) in the 1990s, which was a few years before the handover to China, the Chinese government raised concerns about the effect of the project on the territory's fiscal reserves, which eventually forced the Hong Kong government to reduce the cost of the Airport Railway. The resulting changes made to the design imposed limitations on the level of service on the line.[5]

  • The airport rail link was originally designed to accommodate four tracks, two each for the Airport Express and Tung Chung line. It was later reduced to two tracks where both services share the same trackage. As a result, signal failures can affect both services.
  • The Lantau Link section of the line (consisting of the Tsing Ma Bridge, Ma Wan Viaduct, and Kap Shui Mun Bridge) only allows one train to pass through each direction at the same time, raising the minimum headway between trains to 2 minutes 15 seconds. As a result, some Tung Chung line trains terminate at Tsing Yi during peak hours, instead of travelling the entire line.
  • The signalling system is not capable of giving priority to Airport Express trains; as a result, Tung Chung line trains stopping at Sunny Bay station frequently impede Airport Express trains, which do not serve the station. Tung Chung Line trains would sometimes stop at Sunny Bay Station for an extended period of time to give way to the Airport Express trains.
  • The power supply system restricts the number of trains running between Kowloon and Lai King stations. The system can accommodate a maximum of one Airport Express train and two Tung Chung trains travelling in both directions at one time. The minimum headway on this section of the line is 3 minutes 30 seconds.

Future development[edit]

Extensions on Hong Kong Island[edit]

Track extension near Hong Kong station[edit]

An underground tunnel, around half a km long, will be built eastwards of Hong Kong station to allow Tung Chung Line and Airport Express trains to turn around, allowing the trains to easily switch directions, thus enhancing the efficiency of operations.

North Island line[edit]

Once the North Island line is complete, trains will travel in a tunnel east of Hong Kong station along the shore of the island before merging into the Tseung Kwan O line at North Point. Three new stations - Tamar, Exhibition Centre and Causeway Bay North will form part of the extension.

Extension in Tung Chung[edit]

In the Railway Development Strategy 2014, it was proposed that the Tung Chung Line be extended west and a new station at Tung Chung West.[6]

In April 2020, Carrie Lam and the Executive Council approved the detailed planning and design of the Tung Chung line extension project. It is scheduled to begin construction in 2023, while the cost of the two new stations, Tung Chung East and Tung Chung West, are expected to cost HK$18.7 billion. This extension is expected to be complete by 2029. The project is expected to extend the line an additional 1.5 kilometers. The design contract for the extension was recently awarded to British engineering companies Arup and Atkins.[7][8]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Weekday patronage of MTR heavy rail network from September 1 to 27 and September 28 to October 25, 2014" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hong Kong. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Business Overview" (PDF). MTR. July 2021. p. 6. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  3. ^ https://www.mtr.com.hk/en/corporate/tenders/SHD_1701.html
  4. ^ "Legislative Council Panel on Transport, Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways, Airport Railway Capacity" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hong Kong. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  5. ^ (in Chinese)MTR Service Update (26 November 2012). "為甚麼東涌綫總是班次疏落?". Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  6. ^ "Railway Development Strategy 2014" (PDF). 17 September 2014. Retrieved 27 March 2022.
  7. ^ "Atkins-Arup JV to design Tung Chung Line Extension in Hong Kong - News - GCR". www.globalconstructionreview.com. Retrieved 30 June 2021.
  8. ^ "MTR receives approval for Tung Chung Line Extension project work". www.railway-technology.com. Retrieved 30 June 2021.