The 6.8km line is an effectively an extension of the Ma On Shan line, with services running from Tai Wai through Hin Keng and Diamond Hill to Kai Tak and is part of the delayed 17km Shatin - Central link (SCL), which at $HK 97.1bn ($US 12.43bn) is Hong Kong’s most expensive metro project.
Delays to the SCL are to due alleged poor construction and a reported cover-up of mismanaged construction work on extended platforms at Hung Hom station. In addition, 40% of documents certifying work on two approach tunnels and stabling sidings at the station disappeared.
Passengers can change to the East Rail Line at Tai Wai, and to the Kwun Tong Line at Diamond Hill where the existing concourse for the Kwun Tong Line has been connected to the new concourse for the Tuen Ma Line.
Improved ticket machines installed at the new stations will allow passengers to purchase single journey and monthly passes, as well as top up Octopus smart cards. New Smart Customer Service Centres will provide passenger information including entrance and exit directions, information on MTR journeys and access to the Help Line.
More than 800 staff worked overnight to change more than 26,400 signs and information boards throughout the MTR network in preparation for the opening as well as replacing and updating the digital information and fare collection software to incorporate the new railway line into the network. MTR says hundreds of passengers waited outside Kai Tak station from before 05.00 to get a look at the line.
MTR CEO, Dr Jacob Kam, managing director, operations and mainland business, Mr Adi Lau, operations director, Dr Tony Lee, and other MTR representatives visited Kai Tak, Diamond Hill and Hin Keng stations during the opening.
“The Tuen Ma Line Phase 1 will foster the linkage between the New Territories East and Kowloon East, extending railway service to new communities in the Kai Tak area and providing passengers with a safe, reliable and comfortable mode of public transportation,” Kam says. “The MTR network coverage will be more extensive and serve more passengers when the whole SCL, which connects several existing railway lines, is in service and passengers will find it more convenient to travel around the territory.”
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