CHINA: Revenue services began operating on the Kai Tak – Hung Hom section of Hong Kong’s Tuen Ma Line through east Kowloon on June 27, completing the east-west corridor across the New Territories.

The Tuen Ma Line is now the longest within Hong Kong, running for 56 km from Tuen Mun in the west to Ma On Shan and Wu Kai Sha in the east. It serves 27 stations, including six interchanges to other lines.


Built as part of the chequered Shatin – Central Link project, the east-west connection linking the Ma On Shan Line at Tai Wai with the West Rail corridor at Hung Hom has been completed in two stages. The first phase from Tai Wai to Kai Tak was inaugurated on February 14 2020, but the second phase was delayed by faulty construction at Hung Hom and subsidence problems at the station sites. MTR said last year that it hoped to complete the route before the end of 2021.


Phase 2 was inaugurated with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at Sung Wong Toi station attended by MTR Corp Chairman Dr Rex Auyeung and CEO Dr Jacob Kam along with other VIPs. It adds stations at Sung Wong Toi, To Ka Wan and Ho Man Tin, where interchange is provided to the Whampoa extension of the Kwun Tong Line. Because the Ma On Shan Line was built for right-hand running to optimise cross-platform interchange with East Rail at Tai Wai, this arrangement continues on Phase 1. The two tracks ‘roll over’ near To Kwa Wan on Phase 2 to match the left-hand running used on West Rail.


The completed line belongs to Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp network, but like the rest of KCR is operated by MTR Corp under a ‘service concession model’. The Hong Kong SAR government and KCRC signed a concession agreement on June 21 under which MTR Corp will operate the Tuen Ma Line for two years from opening. According to MTR, the regulatory arrangements are ‘substantially the same’ as those applying to the rest of the region’s railway network.


To encourage ridership on the completed corridor, MTR Corp has offered 100 000 free single journey tickets to be used by the end of this year. The operator reported that ‘enthusiastic passengers’ were waiting at Sung Wong Toi station by 05.00 on opening day to board the first train, which arrived at 05.50. Travellers using the new link were presented with limited edition face masks and specially designed Octopus smartcard holders.