Passengers asked to avoid Tuen Ma rail line opening day rushLocal | 12 Feb 2020 1:23 pm
The mass transit operator in Hong Kong is all set to unveil their latest addition to the rail network, but people are being urged not to rush in to join the debut trip of the new Tuen Ma rail line on Friday.
The MTR Corporation said people should beware of their personal hygiene and avoid crowded places amid the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
Trains of the line, formerly known as the Shatin-Central link, will run between Tai Wai, Hin Keng, Diamond Hill and Kai Tak for the time being.
It extends from the current Ma On Shan line and will eventually be connected to the West Rail line as the construction scandal at Hung Hom station delayed the opening of several other new stations.
Speaking to reporters, a MTR’s general manager Alan Cheng said the new line will make it more convenient for passengers to travel between Kowloon East and Northeast New Territories.
He said it will only take nine minutes to go to Diamond Hill from Tai Wai, eight minutes quicker than transferring in Kowloon Tong.
"Passengers from the East Rail line and the Ma On Shan line going to the eastern part of Kowloon and Hong Kong Island will be benefit. They will have a shorter journey time. I think this group of people will choose to change to Tuen Ma line in Tai Wai station," he said.
The construction scare at Hung Hom, where steel reinforcement bars weren't fitted correctly, has led to a serious delay, with trains between there and Kai Tak not expected to start running until late next year – more than two years later than originally scheduled.
Another part of the Sha Tin-Central Link will see the East Rail Line extended across the harbour to Admiralty, via a new station still under construction at the Exhibition Centre in Wan Chai.
The government has said that this section of the link isn't expected to open until the first quarter of 2022, blaming damage to the MTR network by Hong Kong's pro-democracy protesters for the further delay.