South Island Line

South Island Line

The South Island Line is a proposed line of the Hong Kong MTR metro system. Construction to the southern end of Hong Kong Island, which is at present not serviced by any rail transport, has been approved by the Executive Council of Hong Kong. Four schemes have been put forward, but so far there has not been a single plan that has not had significant drawbacks to it.

The line was originally proposed by the PDFlink| [ Second Railway Development Study (RDS-2)] |1.03 MiB to provide direct linkage from the populated areas of Wah Fu and Ap Lei Chau in Southern District, to Central. Originally, the South Island Line project was not considered financially viable without additional developments for more residents and employment in the Southern District.

Original proposal

Route and stations

The MTR Corporation Limited (MTRC) submitted its first proposal for the South Island line in May of 2002. The new line was intended to be included in a promotion to promote tourism in Aberdeen. The West Island line is an extension of the Island Line.

The South Island Line is a semi-circular line with nine stations. The South Island line is intended to serve the southern end of Hong Kong Island towards Aberdeen. It interchanges with the Island line at University and at Wan Chai. From University to Wan Chai, the other stations on the line are Cyberport, Wah Fu, South Horizons, Lei Tung, Wong Chuk Hang, Ocean Park, and Happy Valley.

On 21 January 2003, the Executive Council of Hong Kong made modifications on the South Island Line project to achieve a more cost-effective option and the parallel development of Route 4. However, the first proposal has some major drawbacks. Specifically, construction of West Island Line as heavy railway type tunnels and stations would not include Kennedy Town if there is no Western reclamation. There would also be great environmental impact and traffic management challenge if West Island Line goes under Des Vouex Road West. There would not be an Aberdeen station for serving the Aberdeen area. Transfer station at Wan Chai does not cater well for the needs of cross-harbour trips (they must change to Island Line heading Admiralty and another change to Tsuen Wan Line for cross-harbour trains).

Preliminary scheme

In order to respond to the criticism directed towards the original proposal, the MTRC started a feasibility study of the lines in mid-2003 to look for cost-effective options to improve the system. The study also evaluated the external benefits of the project and its impact on other modes of public transport. The company derived a modified proposal in November 2003, with three options of alignment in the South Island Line part, to address the drawbacks in the initial scheme.

Alignment and stations

The western section of the South Island Line was transferred to the West Island Line. The South Island Line will be a medium capacity system.

Option A alignment - from South Horizons to Admiralty
* South Horizons
* Lei Tung
* Wong Chuk Hang (Interchange to West Island Line)
* Ocean Park
* Happy Valley
* Wan Chai (Interchange to HK-MTR lines|Island)
* Admiralty (Interchange to HK-MTR lines|Tsuen Wan & HK-MTR lines|Island)

Alignment options of South Island Line

Three alignment options of South Island Line:
* Option A: Ocean Park > Happy Valley > Wan Chai > Admiralty: This alignment is the most expensive, but has the greatest catchment.
* Option B: Ocean Park > Admiralty (no intermediate station)
# Reduces travel times from Southern District to CBD.
# Least expensive option.
* Option C: Ocean Park > Admiralty (> Wan Chai > Happy Valley): Similar to option B, but enables further extension to Happy Valley in the future.

Revised alignment scheme

Alignment and stations

The corporation handed in the Revised Alignment Scheme in end-March 2004. South Island Line runs from South Horizons to Admiralty in the scheme, still having three alignment options.
* South Horizons
* Lei Tung
* Wong Chuk Hang (Interchange to West Island Line)
* Ocean Park
* Happy Valley ("Option B, C")
* Wan Chai (Interchange to Island Line) ("Option C")
* Admiralty (Interchange to Tsuen Wan Line & Island Line) ("Option A, B, C")

A depot will be built in the area of Wong Chuk Hang Estate, just next to Wong Chuk Hang station.

Interchange stations

The above scheme has interchanges at Sai Ying Pun, Wong Chuk Hang, Admiralty and probably Wan Chai. They have the following characteristics to enhance transfers:

Sai Ying Pun:West Island Line on upper island platform, Island Line on lower island platform. Transfer by short escalator ride.

Wong Chuk Hang:Double island platform with three tracks. South Island Line (West Section) trains uses the center track while South Island Line (East Section) trains use those on the two sides. Convenient cross-platform transfer can be made in both directions.

Admiralty:A new island platform will be built under Queensway. Two 100-metre transfer passages are built to connect the new station with existing station. Shortened transfer time can be made possible by installing escalators and conveyors. Possible passage can be made to connect the station of KCR Sha Tin to Central Link rail project.

Construction methods

Most of the sections run underground, and most stations are underground stations too. The alignment across Cyberport and the segment along the nullah of Wong Chuk Hang will be on viaduct. A parallel bridge alongside the Ap Lei Chau Bridge will also be built.

More detailed construction methods on the running track and stations can be found [] .

Rail system

A medium capacity system will be used. The rolling stock can be steel wheel over steel rail, similar to what MTR and KCR lines used. Rubber-tyred stock is more common in medium systems, and more flexible to decide the alignment of the rail lines as they can run on steep gradients and tight curves.

New 60-m long stocks running on rubber tyres with frequency from 2-4 minutes could meet the predicted ridership. To fit in the shorter rolling stock, stations on the new lines can be shorter than heavy rail stations.

cheduled opening of the lines

If an agreement can be made between the government of Hong Kong and MTRC to start building the line, the scheduled opening time would be in 2009/2010.

Construction cost

According to the summary report of the new lines, the construction cost including West and South Island Lines is between HK$14.6-16.5 billion. MTR has asked for government funding of less than half of the total cost. The remaining cost and the operational cost will be covered by MTR.

Deferral of the scheme

On 28 May 2004, the Panel of Transport of Legislative Council held a meeting to consider the development of West and South Island Lines alongside with the highway link (Route 4).

Residential, environmental, and some professional organisations support building the lines instead of highway. Rail links are more environmentally friendly, and will help ease congestion of the Aberdeen Tunnel. The lines can also help sustainable development and will preserve the shoreline along western and southern Hong Kong Island.

Other transport operators and various organisations oppose the rail link, claiming that the rail link could lead to severe competition between different modes of transport, and that reduction of road transport might eventually cause job losses. Some panel members stated that the projected population growth in the south cannot support the new lines, and that the government should have a thorough plan on how to develop the Southern District before implementing the rail links.

However, some panel members suggested that the new lines could help promote tourism in the area. They asked the government to moderate the various modes of transport upon the new lines' inaugurations so as to relieve concerns from the transport operators.

Government officials stated that the low ridership of KCR West Rail Line and its rail incidents warrant extra planning on the new rail lines to ensure enough ridership and appropriate, cost-effective system design. Therefore, the West Island Line and South Island line project was deferred, and "green lights" have been given to the detailed planning of the highway.

February 2005 scheme

On 25 February 2005, the Panel of Transport of Legislative Council had a meeting discussing West and South Island Line. MTR has submitted a revised scheme on 22 February and an introduction to the scheme was conducted in the meeting.

Alignment and stations

South Island Line (West section)It was separated from the West Island Line in the last proposal, running from University to Wong Chuk Hang:
* University (Interchange to West Island Line)
* Cyberport
* Wah Fu
* Aberdeen
* Wong Chuk Hang (Interchange to South Island Line (E))

South Island Line (East section)It runs on the same alignment of South Island Line in Revised Scheme, and the three options stated before still exist. The line starts at South Horizons:
* South Horizons
* Lei Tung
* Wong Chuk Hang (Interchange to South Island Line (W))
* Ocean Park
* Happy Valley "(Option B, C)"
* Wan Chai "(Option B only)"
* Admiralty "(Option A, B, C)"

Detail construction methods and rail systems chosen were still unknown, but they would be the same as the Revised Alignment Scheme. West Island Line will use heavy rail systems while the two sections of South Island Line use medium rail systems.

Discussions on the new plan

The MTR claimed that the latest scheme had the following advantages:
# No reclamation needed, and it alleviates air and noise pollution
# Supporting tourism in Southern District: as Wong Chuk Hang will soon have nine new hotels and Ocean Park will be redeveloped

The total cost of the project, including the West Island Line, would be around HK$15 billion, and MTR was still asking the government to fund half of the construction cost.

The officials from Environmental, Transport and Works Bureau said that consideration of funding depends on the development of tourism in Southern District, especially after the submission of Ocean Park redevelopment project.

In February 2007, the government announced in a Southern District Council meeting that the South Island Line is currently at a 4th priority when it comes to future railway projects, much to the anger of the district councillors present. [Mingpao Daily, 13-2-2007, page A13] This implies that the South Island Line is unlikely to be opened to the public before 2015.

On 10 October 2007, Chief Executive Donald Tsang announced in the policy address that the South Island Line will start construction in around 2011, and will be open in 2015. On 27 October 2007, MTR announced that stations will be built in Wong Chuk Hang and around Ocean Park, but MTR did not confirm whether the line will pass through Wan Chai and Happy Valley. [ [ 南港島線2011年動工 (South Island Line starts construction in 2011)] Mingpao Daily]

Executive Council scheme

On 18 December 2007, the Executive Council of Hong Kong approved the construction of the east section of South Island Line. A total of five stations will be built. The railway will be 7 km long, and takes 10 minutes to travel from South Horizons Station to Admiralty Station. The railway will be medium capacity system, which costs HK$7 billion. Comparing with previous schemes, Wan Chai Station will not be built, and the construction of Happy Valley Station is under negotiation between MTR Corporation and Hong Kong Jockey Club, suggests renaming the station to "Racecourse Station" which is already used by another existing station on East Rail Line. The construction of the west section of South Island Line has not been confirmed yet. [ [ Jockey club may fund MTR stop near racetrack] The Standard]

Alignment and stations

The east section runs on the same alignment of option B in Revised Alignment Scheme, with Happy Valley Station under planning:
* South Horizons
* Lei Tung
* Wong Chuk Hang (Future interchange to South Island Line (W))
* Ocean Park
* Happy Valley / Racecourse (Planning)
* Admiralty

ee also

* Future projects of the MTR


Papers from Government and Legislature
* From Highways Department Hong Kong. Retrieved 27 February 2005.
* From Panel of Transport, Legislative Council. 21 February 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2005.
* From Panel of Transport, Legislative Council. 21 February 2005. Retrieved 27 February 2005.
* From Panel of Transport, Legislative Council. 25 February 2005. Retrieved 5 March 2005.

Press releases
*PDFlink| [ MTR Corporation welcomes Government's decision on West Island Line and South Island Line] |31.4 KiB . (30 June 2005). From MTR Corporation.

External links

* [ MTR West Island Line and South Island Line Introduction]
* [ Papers from Legislative Council concerning West Island Line and South Island Line]

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