North Island line
The North Island line is a proposal to provide rapid transit service for the area between the existing MTR Island line and the northern coast of Hong Kong Island in order to relieve the already congested Island line.
North Island line
|Locale||Districts: Central and Western, Wan Chai, Eastern|
|Track gauge||1,432 mm (4 ft 8 3⁄8 in)|
Originally, according to the document "Rail Projects Under Planning 2000" released by the Highways Department, the current Tung Chung line would be extended from Hong Kong terminus eastward and two new stations, Tamar station and Exhibition Centre station are proposed on the extension. The new route would then join and substitute the Island Line from Fortress Hill station to Chai Wan terminus. Tseung Kwan O line will have newly constructed tunnel connected from its North Point terminus to Tin Hau station without passing via Fortress Hill station and substitute the remaining western half of the Island line.
In 2013, the Highways Department released a second option for the North Island line scheme, so-called the "interchange scheme" because it will only extend Tung Chung line and Tseung Kwan O line to be joined at Tamar station as an interchange station for the 2 lines without dividing the Island line. The original scheme is addressed as the "swap scheme" for distinction.
The extension of Tung Chung Line forms part of the third phase of land reclamation of Victoria Harbour on Hong Kong Island's northern coast. Due to the disagreement from public and political parties such as Society for Protection of the Harbour and the insufficient traffic demand, the MTR Corporation has never given the proposal a commencement date. To add more uncertainty, the proposed Shatin to Central Link and the merger of MTRC and KCRC also influence the fate of North Island Line. Due to said reasons, in 2003 Hong Kong Government have postponed it indefinitely. However, the MTRC included the Sha Tin to Central Link and the North Island Line details in the diagrams of the latest schemes of the West Island Line and South Island Line, released in 2008. Those diagrams have excluded the now cancelled Central South Station and Racecourse Station in Happy Valley.
On 21 February 2013, the Highways Department launched stage 2 public engagement consultation of Our Future Railway, and proposed two schemes of North Island Line. In addition to a "Swap" scheme which was similar to previous proposals, the consultation documents also included a second "Interchange" scheme.
The existing Tung Chung Line would be extended along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island, with Tamar, Exhibition Centre and Causeway Bay North stations along the path. The extension would then connect eastwards to the existing Island Line at Fortress Hill Station, and take up the remaining Island Line section to Chai Wan Station.
At the same time, Tseung Kwan O Line would extend from its current westbound terminus North Point Station to the existing Island Line Tin Hau Station, and take up the remaining Island Line to Kennedy Town Station.
This scheme would greatly increase the number of stations reached by Tung Chung Line and Tseung Kwan O Line on Hong Kong Island, but east-west directional traffic along the existing Island Line would be interrupted and require an interchange. Also, the maximum train frequency between Fortress Hill and Chai Wan Stations, which are taken up by Tung Chung Line, would have to reduce by 8 trains per hour because the service frequency of the Tung Chung Line is hampered by the Tsing Ma Bridge capacity. Also, the singal system and trains using on both lines are different, so the “swap” scheme will not be considered in the plan.
Both the existing Tung Chung Line and Tseung Kwan O Line would be extended along the northern coast of Hong Kong Island. Three stations, namely Tamar, Exhibition and Causeway Bay North, would be constructed along the extensions, and either Tamar or Causeway Bay North Station would be chosen as an interchange between the two lines.
This scheme would preserve the existing Island Line and would not change the current commuting pattern between Central and Western District and Eastern District. However, as Tung Chung and Tseung Kwan O Lines would not be connected to Island Line, some passengers would still need to make an interchange as they currently do. Also, this arrangement would be less effective than the "Swap" scheme in relieving congestion, since although the number of stations and the area served has increased, the link with the current Island Line would still be the same, unlike the "Swap" scheme.
According to the "Railway Development Strategy 2014" document, the government opted for the interchange scheme because its construction cost and difficulties are lower and it does not interfere with the commuting practices of the current Island line users. Construction is expected to begin in 2021 and finish in 2026. The cost is estimated to be HK$20 billion in 2013 prices.
- North Hong Kong Island Line - Hong Kong Highways Department, Hong Kong Government
- West Island Line & South Island Line (East) introduction - MTR Corporate Site
- Our Future Railway Archived 11 December 2013 at the Wayback Machine
- "Railway Development Strategy 2014" (PDF). Transport and Housing Bureau. September 2014. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2018. Retrieved 11 July 2018.