Past -> The History

The Beginning of the Mass Transit System in Hong Kong

The idea of constructing a mass transit system first came out in the late 60's. The Freeman, Fox, Wilber Smith & Associates (appointed by the Government) performed a study (named Hong Kong Mass Transport Study) in September 1967. Since Hong Kong was insufficient of land, and the population was increasing very rapidly, the transport system could only be UNDER GROUND. The first proposal included 4 lines: Island Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong Line and Sha Tin Line.

Initial System

The Hong Kong Mass Transit Further Studies was completed in 1970 by the same group. They suggested a 52.7 km long system, consisted of Island Line, East Kowloon Line, Kong Kow Line, Tsuen Wan Branch and Kwun Tong Branch. The Sha Tin Line was changed to East Kowloon Line because the population in Sha Tin did not fulfill the estimated/required level. In 1972, the Government only approved of 20 km out of the suggested system, and named it the Initial System.

The Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation

In 1973, the Government, together with 4 major international organizations, agreed to perform the construction according to a contract. The organization from Japan signed the contract in 1974, but gave up to participate in November the same year. After a few weeks, the Initial System was slightly shortened and was renamed as Modified Initial System. The Government divided the contract into 25 main contracts and 10 electrical and mechanical contacts. The Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation was established, for the supervision of the construction.

Kwun Tong Line (or Modified Initial System)

In November 1975, the construction of the Modified Initial System/Kwun Tong Line (15.6 km) started. The first part (North Modified Initial System: Shek Kip Mei <-> Kwun Tong) was completed in 30 September 1979. The system extended to Tsim Sha Tsui in 1 January 1980, and to Chater in 12 February 1980. The construction of the Modified Initial System costed HK$580 million. At that time, 4-car Metro-Cammell England trains are used.

Tsuen Wan Line

The Government approved of the construction of the Tsuen Wan Line (10.5 km) in July 1977, and it began in November 1978. The Tsuen Wan Line Tsuen Wan <-> Lai King section was opened in 10 May 1982, and the Lai King <-> Prince Edwards section was opened in 17 May 1982, due to the construction delay. Tai Wo Hau station was officially opened in May 1985 when the population grew to the required level. The construction of this line costed HK$410 million. Then, Tsuen Wan Line took over the Chater <-> Prince Edwards section of the Kwun Tong Line. Argyle and Prince Edwards became the interchange stations for the Tsuen Wan Line and Kwun Tong Line. Trains cars were increased to 6.

Island Line

In December 1980, the Government accepted the construction of the Island Line (12.5 km), and the works started in October 1981. The Island Line Admiralty <-> Chai Wan section opened in 31 May 1985 (names are changed for certain station on that day), followed by the opening of Admiralty <-> Sheung Wan section on 23 May 1986. Central and Admiralty stations are expanded to be the interchange stations for the Island Line and Tsuen Wan Line. Finally, 8-car Metro-Cammell trains were used throughout the MTR network.

Original New Name
Chater Central
Waterloo Yau Ma Tei
Argyle Mong Kok
Lai Wan Mei Foo

(Table) Station Names Changed on 31 May 1985

The Second Harbour Crossing Tunnel

In 1984, the Government planned to construct the Eastern Harbour Crossing for cars and MTR trains. The tunnel was operational by 6 August 1989, and Lam Tin station was opened in 1 October 1989. Quarry Bay station became an interchange station for the Kwun Tong Line and Island Line.

Another Extension to the MTR Network

As a part of the Airport Core Programme, the Airport Express Line (and Tung Chung Line) works started in March 1996 as tracks were being installed. Then, the Western Immersed Tube was completed to connect Hong Kong and Kowloon station. In August 1996, the station to recognize the achievement of Hong Kong athletes in the Olympic and Paralympic Games (i.e. Olympic Station) was completed, followed by the completion of Tung Chung station in the end of the year 1996.

Constructing the Lantau Airport Railway (LAR)

In January 1997, the Lai King station was successfully expanded to be an interchange station for the Tung Chung Line and Tsuen Wan Line, while the first train from Spain was received. On 28 February 1997, the Bridge was completed. In May, the Tsing Yi station was completed. Then in July, the first Engineering Vehicle arrived Hong Kong station, followed by the completion of Kowloon station in September that year.

The Opening of the LAR

The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Chief Executive Mr. Tung Chee Hua attended the Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong station in 21 June 1998, and the Tung Chung Line was operational the following day. The Airport Express Line became in service an 6 July 1998.

URL Trains Modernization

MTR started to modernize URL trains in 1998 by (text). All train modernizations take place in the Tsuen Wan Depot (TWD). Trains running on the TWL will be modernized first relatively, followed by those on the ISL. Finally, trains to be modernized will only be found in the KTL. This project is expected to be completed in early August.

Quarry Bay Congestion Relief Works (QBR)

Since during rush hours, the usage of passages between KTL and ISL platforms has increased to a rather high level, in order to increase the efficiency of line changing, the QBR is made the solution. A new platform was built opposite to each existing ISL platform. This project started in September 1997. It reduced the line changing time from about 4 minutes to about 1 minute, as well as the congestion problem in Quarry Bay Station. See Past -> Quarry Bay Congestion Relief Works for more. The project completed on 27 September 2001, and passengers can change lines via North Point Station starting 15:00 that day.

Tseung Kwan O Extension (TKE)

A new line became part of the MTR on 18 August 2002. The Tseung Kwan O Line (TKL) was being constructed starting late 1998. The new line consisted of 5 new stations, and the KTL was diverted to terminate at Tiu Keng Leng (TIK). The TKL took over North Point and Quarry Bay Stations. A new depot - Tseung Kwan O Depot (TKD) will also be built. See Past -> Tseung Kwan O Extension for more.


Last Updated: Monday, October 27, 2003 13:38
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