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Subway Quiz: What Long-Awaited Line Opened Four Days Before the Second Ave Subway?

The 4.6-mile subway operates like some AirTrains in the U.S. that automatically whisk travelers between airport terminals without drivers and with platform screen doors at stations for enhanced safety. Where is the new line located?
January 9, 2017, 9am PST | Irvin Dawid
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Similar to the Second Avenue Subway that took almost a century between conception and opening of the 2-mile first phase on New Year's Day, this line was also subject to delay, though on a more reasonable scale, before finally opening on Christmas Eve, December 28.

"More than nine years after the HK$16.9 billion [US$2.18 billion] project was confirmed and after its completion date was twice postponed, the MTR’s South Island Line finally began operations on Wednesday, giving Hongkongers a long-awaited choice to beat worsening traffic congestion in Southern district," report Raymond YeungPeace Chiu, and Naomi Ng for the South China Morning PostMTR derives from the abbreviation for Mass Transit Railway Corporation.

The new 4.6 mile South Island Line (SIL) features four new stations in Hong Kong's Southern District and one expanded station (in Central and Western District). Readers may recall that the Second Avenue Subway "Q-extension" has three new and one expanded stations built at a cost of $4.45 billion, more than twice the cost for less than half the length of the SIL.

"Construction of the South Island Line began in 2011," according to MTR's press release [PDF]. Train sets will consist of only three cars.

The medium-capacity line extends railway service from Admiralty Station to the south side of Hong Kong Island through tunnel and viaduct sections to serve new stations at Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang, Lei Tung and South Horizons.

The line's opening marks a milestone for MTR in that it now serves all 18 districts of Hong Kong. 

“The Southern District has always relied on road traffic to connect with other parts of Hong Kong, and traffic congestion has been an issue affecting residents," notes an earlier MTR press release [PDF] about a celebration of the line's completion.

When the new line opens, commuters will have the option of travelling on the MTR network with reduced journey times and seamless connections with other MTR lines,” said Professor Frederick Ma, Chairman of MTR Corporation during the Ceremony. “

SIL joins a long list of automated urban metro subway systems, though mostly in Europe and Asia, and metros using platform screen doors (or automatic platform gates if only chest-high) to prevent tragedies like the one that happened at New York's 49th Street (BMT Broadway Line) station in 2012.

Hat tip to Michael Keenly.

Related on Planetizen:

  • Screened Subway Platforms Ruled-Out for NYC, December 12, 2012: The front page photo, "Doomed" on the New York Post on Dec. 4 of pushed subway rider, Ki Suk Han, attempting to lift himself from the tracks as a train approaches has captivated many - yet a proposal to prevent it from repeating it is doomed as well.
  • World's Most Successful Subway?, March 15, 2009: This video takes a look at what may be the world's best subway system - Hong Kong's MTR. Riders hold shares in the public-private entity. And, as the video explains, it is profitable.
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Published on Wednesday, December 28, 2016 in South China Morning Post
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