FULL COMMERCIAL service on Hong Kong's West Rail was due to start at 14.00 on December 20, after a formal opening ceremony had taken place that morning at Kam Sheung Road station.
KCRC Chairman Michael Tien announced the opening date on December 12 following six weeks of fault-free ghost operation during which punctuality was 99% and 99·6% of scheduled services ran.
The first passengers were to be carried on a 'trial basis' between 10.00 and 12.45 on December 17, and from 05.45 to 12.45 on the next day. To facilitate this, MTR opened its new Nam Cheong interchange station on the Tung Chung line from December 17. On the same day, the Mei Foo Subway which allows passengers to transfer between MTR and KCRC's West Rail stations was opened.
To limit the numbers, KCRC offered trial rides on West Rail for HK$15 for adults or HK$7·5 for children and seniors to any station, but they could only exit through the gates at their station of origin.
- KCRC announced on November 19 that it had decided to drop the proposed Canton Road station from the Kowloon Southern Link, which will see the East Rail and West Rail routes joined by short extensions to Tsim Sha Tsui.