Metro fans wait to board the first train of the first phase of the new Tuen Ma Line, at Kai Tak station in southwestern Kowloon, Hong Kong, in the early morning of Feb 14, 2020. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Hundreds of metro fans flocked to the newly opened Kai Tak station on early Friday morning, also Valentine’s day, for the inaugural service of the first phase of the much anticipated Tuen Ma Line.
The first train departed the Kai Tak station in southwestern Kowloon at 5:45 am to Wu Kai Sha in southeastern New Territories.
Two passengers take a photo onboard the first train of the first phase of the Tuen Ma Line at Kai Tak station in southwestern Kowloon, Hong Kong, in the early morning of Feb 14, 2020. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Neither the coronavirus threat nor bad weather could douse the spirit of the fans in the face masks to ward off the virus. Some of them were waiting outside the station at 2 am to be among the first to enter the station. A group of fans celebrated the event with a bottle of champagne.
Metro fans wait for the turnstile gates at Kai Tak station to open to take the first train of the first phase of the new Tuen Ma Line, in the early morning of Feb 14, 2020. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Rail operator MTR held a simple ceremony and distributed souvenirs at Kai Tak station. CEO of the company, Jacob Kam Chak-pui, and some other senior executives were among those taking the first ride.
The new line is also part of the Sha Tin to Central Link, with the section from Sung Wong Toi to Admiralty across Victoria Harbour still under construction.
Three new stations on the new Tuen Ma Line that have opened for service are Hin Keng, Diamond Hill and Kai Tak
"The Tuen Ma Line Phase 1 is the first section of the Shatin to Central Link (SCL) to commence passenger services. 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," Kam was quoted as saying in a MTR press release issued Friday.
At a press briefing, MTR Operations Director Tony Lee Kar-yun said that more than 800 MTR workers and contractors labored throughout the night to ensure a smooth ride. He said the company assigned over 300 extra employees to assist passengers on the first day.
A passenger onboard the first train of the first phase of the new Tuen Ma Line steps out of the train to take a photo of the platform at Wu Kai Sha station in Hong Kong, Feb 14, 2020. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Connected to other lines serving several densely populated districts, the new line can help relieve the traffic jam in the area, said Adi Lau Tin-shing, managing director of Operations and Mainland Business of MTR.
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With 12 stops from Wu Kai Sha in southeastern New Territories to Kai Tak in southwestern Kowloon, the Tuen Ma line is linked to the Ma On Shan Line and the Kwun Tong Line.
MTR staff (right) distribute souvenirs to metro fans at Kai Tak station in southwestern Kowloon, Hong Kong, in the early morning of Feb 14, 2020. (EDMOND TANG / CHINA DAILY)
Three new stations on the new line that have opened for service are Hin Keng, Diamond Hill and Kai Tak.
With the commencement of the Tuen Ma Line Phase 1, the expanded Diamond Hill Station becomes the interchange station between the Tuen Ma Line and Kwun Tong Line.
Estimated journey time between Tai Wai and Diamond Hill stations is reduced from 17 minutes to about 9 minutes with the new service.
A discount of HK$1 per trip is offered to passengers boarding at Hin Keng or Kai Tak stations until the opening of the second phase at the end of 2021.
HONG KONG NEWS