South Island line

The South Island line, identified by light green on the MTR route map, is a rapid transit line of Hong Kong's MTR metro system. This line connects the HK business district from Admiralty station to the Southern District of Hong Kong Island, which was not served by any rail transport prior to the opening of this line.[1] The rolling stock of South Island line is purpose-built for driverless operation. Trains are remotely controlled from the Operations Control Centre in Tsing Yi. Approved by the Executive Council of Hong Kong in 2007,[2] the line commenced service on 28 December 2016.[3]

South Island line (East)
MTR SouthIslandLine STrain A511-B906-A512 OCP.jpg
Southbound train of the South Island line approaching Ocean Park
OwnerMTR Corporation
LocaleDistricts: Central & Western, Southern
South Horizons
TypeRapid transit, driverless
Operator(s)MTR Corporation
Depot(s)Wong Chuk Hang
Rolling stockCNR Changchun EMU
Opened28 December 2016; 4 years ago (2016-12-28)
Line length7.4 km (4.6 mi)
Track gauge1,435 mm (4 ft 8+12 in)
Route map
South Island Line Map.svg

Nam Fung Tunnel
Ocean Park
Wong Chuk Hang Depot
Wong Chuk Hang
Lei Tung
South Horizons

This line was known during planning and construction as the South Island line (East) to distinguish from South Island line (West), which is still being planned.


The initial proposal for the line was in 2002, and went through a number of changes, at times combined with the West Island line and South Island line (West). The final alignment corresponds with "option B" of the 2005 revised scheme, with no intermediate station at Happy Valley included, in order to reduce the travel time to the CBD.

Rolling stockEdit

MTR defines the railway as a medium capacity system. The final order for rolling stock for the new line consisted of 10 new three-car MTR CNR Changchun EMUs using steel wheels. These trains are externally similar to the new existing sets in service on the Kwun Tong line, but are fully automatic and driverless – the second such line in the MTR system after the Disneyland Resort line, and the third such line in Hong Kong.[4] However, every train has at least one staff for patrol in the traffic hour who is qualified to control the train manually according to the requirements of the Fire Services Department since the commencement of the line.[5] Trains operate with a frequency of three minutes during rush hour. If future demand rises, trains on the South Island Line are capable of running with 5 cars.

Alignment and stationsEdit

South Island line viaduct near Holy Spirit Seminary
CNR Changchun EMU with cartoon animals in the windows

South Island line begins in tunnel at Admiralty station, an underground station connecting to the pre-existing Tsuen Wan line and Island line. From Admiralty the line travels southeastward beneath Mount Cameron through the 3.2-kilometre (2.0 mi) Nam Fung Tunnel, emerging into a covered viaduct at a site between the portal of Aberdeen Tunnel and Gleneagles Hong Kong Hospital, just before Ocean Park station.

The line then continues west on the viaduct through Wong Chuk Hang over a nullah, and crosses the channel to Ap Lei Chau on the Aberdeen Channel Bridge; after landing on the island of Ap Lei Chau, the line enters a tunnel and continues to Lei Tung and South Horizons stations.

Geographically accurate map of the South Island line

The following is a list of the stations on the South Island line.

Livery and Station Name Connections Opening date District
English Chinese
Admiralty 金鐘      Tsuen Wan line,      Island line and      East Rail line (2021) 12 February 1980 Central and Western
Ocean Park 海洋公園 28 December 2016 Southern
Wong Chuk Hang 黃竹坑      South Island line (West) (proposed)
Lei Tung 利東
South Horizons 海怡半島
Station concourses are staffless, except those of Admiralty and Ocean Park stations. Customers are required to solve ticket problems with this Self Service Point machine. To its left is the information counter, which provides travel and street information only.
The trains do not have driver cabs, allowing passengers to see through the windows in the ends of the trains.
The public car park underneath Ocean Park station.


Construction progressEdit

A test train approaching Wong Chuk Hang station in December 2015

Project Agreements and Entrustment Agreement for MTR South Island line and the Kwun Tong line extension were signed by the Hong Kong government and MTR Corporation on 18 May 2011.[6] In August 2012, drilling and blasting work began for constructing the Nam Fung Tunnel, between Admiralty and Ocean Park stations.[7] The line was built by a Leighton AsiaJohn Holland Group joint venture.[8][9]

On 9 December 2013, structural work for Ocean Park station was completed.[10][11] The first 3-car trainset arrived at MTR Siu Ho Wan Depot on 19 February 2014.[12] The project was 78% complete by late September 2014, and Nam Fung Tunnel was broken through on 17 October.[7] In 2015, trial runs began between Wong Chuk Hang and South Horizons stations. 84% of construction work was completed by the end of February 2015. Work in Lei Tung station was prolonged by geological problems, but the MTR claimed it would not postpone the line opening.[13]

Delayed openingEdit

Expansion works at Admiralty station in November 2016. Underground are a new concourse, and the platforms of the South Island line and the North South Corridor. Harcourt Garden will be restored as a podium garden after the completion of the work.

The opening of the South Island line was originally planned for 2015. On 21 May 2014, an informant told Apple Daily that the commencement date of the line would be postponed by one and a half years. MTR Corporation asserted it would be opened as expected. Yet, the Transport and Housing Bureau revealed the delay of construction work and demanded MTR to review the commencement. Members of the Legislative Council and District Council criticised MTR for hiding the project's progress from the public and demanded a progress report at the Council's meeting.[14] Eight days later at the South District Council meeting, MTRC announced the delay was caused by the expansion work of Admiralty station. High-density building, underground public facilities and the existing Admiralty station would prolong the work progress, as "safety comes first". However, the claimed 2015 opening date remained unchanged.[15] In November 2014, a revised opening date of December 2016 was announced.[16]

In October 2016, MTRC chairman Frederick Ma warned that the opening of the South Island line could be delayed by three more months.[17] However, on 10 November 2016, he announced the South Island line would open by the end of 2016, saying the engineering team overcame the many challenges in expanding Admiralty Station.[18] Finally, MTRC chief executive Lincoln Leong officially declared the South Island line would begin operation on 28 December 2016.[3]


On 28 December, before South Horizons station opened, many residents and enthusiasts gathered outside the entrance. MTR managerial officials, including CEO Lincoln Leong, welcomed passengers and rode on the first departure. The first train departed from South Horizons station at 5:55 am, five minutes earlier than usual. After 11 hours of operation, there had been over 92,000 passenger journeys.[19] However, the day after the line opened, an electrical fault triggered power outages at 2:15 pm, causing lighting systems, escalators, elevators, and fare gates to stop working. The driverless trains were switched into manual mode in order to maintain service. Normal operation resumed after half an hour.[20]

Interchange stationsEdit

At Admiralty, a new island platform was built under Harcourt Garden.[21] Transfer passages connect the new station area with the older Tsuen Wan line and Island line platforms, as well as the future North South Corridor platforms.

At Wong Chuk Hang, the platform structure was planned to be a double island platform with three tracks (like Choi Hung station). South Island line (West) trains would use the centre track while South Island line trains would use those on each side, allowing for convenient cross-platform interchanges. However, according to the final plan, any future South Island line (West) platforms were to be built above the existing platforms.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Southern District of Hong Kong to be linked to MTR railway". Breaking Travel News. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b "MTR's South Island Line to open on December 28". RTHK. 5 December 2016.
  4. ^ "Fully automatic trains to start running on South Island line next year, MTR confirms". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  5. ^ "南港島線無人駕駛列車 職員長駐隨時應急". 東方日報 Oriental Daily. Retrieved 25 December 2016.
  6. ^ "Project Agreements and Entrustment Agreement Signed for MTR South Island line and the Kwun Tong line extension" (PDF). MTR. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b "港鐵南港島綫(東段)南風隧道貫通" (PDF). 港鐵. 20 October 2014.(in Chinese)
  8. ^ "Leighton Awarded SIL (E) Contracts". Tunneling Journal. 19 May 2011. Retrieved 4 January 2020.
  9. ^ South Island Line East Project Contract 903 and 904 CIMIC Group
  10. ^ From City Centre to Ocean Park Station in Just Four Minutes,MTR Press Release 9 December 2013
  11. ^ 港鐵海洋公園站平頂, Apple Daily,10 December 2013
  12. ^ "First South Island Line (East) Train Arrives in Hong Kong" (PDF). MTR. Archived from the original (PDF) on 18 March 2014. Retrieved 16 December 2016.
  13. ^ 港鐵有信心南港島線明年底通車 Cable TV 26 March 2015
  14. ^ "南港島綫 延誤年半 港鐵死撐2015可通車 運房局踢爆工程滯後" (in Chinese) (Apple Daily). 21 May 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  15. ^ "港鐵以2015年南港島綫竣工及通車為目標" (in Chinese). RTHK. 29 May 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  16. ^ "South Island line faces more costly delays". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
  17. ^ "South Island line may be delayed by three months". RTHK. 13 October 2016. Retrieved 1 November 2016.
  18. ^ "MTR's South Island line to open by year's end". RTHK. 10 November 2016.
  19. ^ Yeung, Raymond; Chiu, Peace; Ng, Naomi. "It's an early start as Hong Kong's HK$16.9 billion South Island line opens smoothly". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  20. ^ "MTR power glitch hits second day of Hong Kong South Island line". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  21. ^ "MTR – South Island Line > Station Information > Admiralty Station". Retrieved 15 December 2016.

Further readingEdit

Papers from Government and Legislature

Press releases

External linksEdit