Commuters blow hot and cold on rail interchange

Local | Carine Chow 21 Jun 2021

MTR passengers had mixed reviews on the new interchange arrangement at Hung Hom station. The changeover took longer, some grumbled, but among other things, they liked the air-conditioning at the West Rail platform.

The new platform for West Rail was launched yesterday ahead of the full commissioning of the Tuen Ma line next Sunday.

Passengers transferring between the West and the East lines must take escalators to the Hung Hom station's lobby to switch between the two.

A switch between the two lines by walking across the platform is no more.

Under the new arrangement, passengers need to spend about three minutes walking to the West Rail platform.Rail authorities said they deployed 230 additional staff, put up notices and made public announcements to assist passengers.

Around 200 employees went to work after the last train left Hung Hom Saturday.

The work included adjusting the positions of the gates at the concourse and posting color labels - light blue and fuchsia for East and West Rail lines respectively - to guide people. They also set up a temporary platform connecting platforms one and four of the station, which serves the East Rail Line.

"Based on our observation, the overall operation of the station remains relatively smooth. We thank passengers for their cooperation," an MTR Corp spokesman said.

Some rail fans gathered at the station's entrance from 5am yesterday to get their first look at the new platform.

One noted that the new platform was "more spacious" and that the carved stones added some uniqueness to the station.

Another said public toilets for the new platform were a big plus.

Distances to be covered were not too far while signs along the way meant people are unlikely to get lost, they added. But some passengers disagreed about the signage being unclear.

"It's like walking around in circles," one said.

Another traveler remarked: "There is not enough time to get on the train. In the past we just had to walk across to the opposite side of a platform. Now we have to walk a lot more."

The new interchange arrangement will last until the cross-harbor section of the Sha Tin to Central link is completed, and that is likely to be in the second or third quarters of next year.

The Tuen Ma line will be the longest line in Hong Kong, covering 56 kilometers with 27 stations by connecting Wu Kai Sha station on the Ma On Shan line to Tuen Mun station on the West Rail line at Hung Hom.

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July 2021

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