Tung Chung line

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Tung Chung line
東涌綫
A Train Tung Chung Line 15-07-2017.jpg
Tung Chung line train approaching Sunny Bay station
Overview
TypeCommuter Rail
SystemMTR
LocaleDistricts: Central and Western, Yau Tsim Mong, Sham Shui Po, Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan, Islands
TerminiHong Kong
Tung Chung
Stations8
Ridership236,900 daily average
(weekdays, September 2014)[1]
Operation
Opened21 June 1998 (1998-06-21)
Depot(s)Siu Ho Wan
Rolling stock
Technical
Line length31.1 km (19.3 mi)
Track gauge1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in)
Electrification1.5 kV DC
Operating speed135 km/h (84 mph)
Route map
Tung Chung Line.svg

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

The Tung Chung line is one of the eleven rapid transit lines of the MTR system in Hong Kong, linking Tung Chung with Hong Kong Island. 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 27 minutes along its route. The line is indicated by the colour orange.

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 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 most of its trackage with the Airport Express and diverges 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, then stops at 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 of on the Tsing Ma Bridge and the Kap Shui Mun Bridge into Lantau Island.

Once on the island, the line travels adjacent to the North Lantau Expressway. The Airport Express splits from Tung Chung Line at the outskirts of Tung Chung and travel on its dedicates tracks.

The gap between Sunny Bay and Tung Chug is roughly 10km and the journey 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, in which it only allows one train to pass at all times. [2]

Stations[edit]

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

Livery and name District Connections Opening date
Tung Chung line
Hong Kong Central and Western      Airport Express
Central station for      Tsuen Wan line and      Island line
22 June 1998
Kowloon Yau Tsim Mong      Airport Express
Olympic
Nam Cheong Sham Shui Po      West Rail line 20 December 2003
Lai King Kwai Tsing      Tsuen Wan line 10 May 1982 (Tsuen Wan line)
22 June 1998 (Tung Chung line)
Tsing Yi      Airport Express 22 June 1998
Sunny Bay Tsuen Wan      Disneyland Resort line 1 June 2005
Tung Chung Islands Ngong Ping Cable Car 22 June 1998

Design limitations[edit]

When the then colonial government announced its plans to build the airport rail link, the Chinese government raised concerns of the significant capital outgoings. In 1994, a few years before the handover, both British and Chinese governments reached an agreement on the conditions of the following cost saving measures: [3]

  • 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.
  • Reduction on train traffic capacity on Tsing Ma Bridge, Ma Wan Viaduct, and Kap Shui Mun Bridge) means only one train can travel on either direction on any given time. The minimum headway between trains comes to 2 minutes 15 seconds, and forces some Tung Chung Line services from crossing the bridges into Lantau and terminate at Tsung Yi.
  • The signalling system is not capable of giving priority to the limited-stop Airport Express trains. 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 to travel on both directions at the same time. This increases the minimum headway on the Tung Chung Line is 3.5 minutes.

Future development[edit]

The Tung Chung line was designed to facilitate an extension from Hong Kong station eastward. According to the Rail Projects Under Planning 2000 released by Hong Kong Highways Department, three new stations, Tamar, Exhibition Centre and Causeway Bay North, will form part of the extension. The line will then connect North Point station and merge into the Tseung Kwan O line. However 14 years later on the Railway Development Strategy 2014 Tamar station would become the terminus for both the Tseung Kwan O line and Tung Chung line while Exhibition and Causeway Bay North stations would be served by the Tseung Kwan O line.

Residents of Yat Tung Estate have appealed to the government to extend the Tung Chung line to Tung Chung West station near Yat Tung to ease their transportation problems. Yat Tung currently has 40,000 residents. They claimed that when they moved in 11 years ago, the Housing Bureau's documents indicated a MTR station at the estate. The residents currently have to take a 10-minute bus journey to Tung Chung station.[4]

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. ^ "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. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  3. ^ (in Chinese)MTR Service Update (26 November 2012). "為甚麼東涌綫總是班次疏落?". Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  4. ^ (in Chinese)逸東邨居民要求建港鐵站 Wen Wei Po. 25 May 2011.