Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Transport
Ma On Shan to Tai Wai Rail Link and
Extension of the Kowloon-Canton Railway to Tsim Sha Tsui


At the meeting on 9 January 1998, we briefed Members on Government's decision on the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai rail link (MOS Rail) and the extension of the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) from Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui (TST Extension). Members requested further information in the following areas -

  1. overall improvements to the East Rail;

  2. interchange at Tai Wai Station; and

  3. MTR/KCR Interchange at Tsim Sha Tsui.

2. This paper sets out the information requested. An executive summary of report of the feasibility study on the MOS Rail and TST Extension (the Feasibility Study) is at Annex.


(A) Present situation

3. At present, the KCR East Rail carries a daily average of 750 000 passengers. During morning peak hours, the hourly loading of the section from Tai Wai to Kowloon Tong is about 50 000 passengers.

4. During peak hours, while passengers may sometimes have to wait on the station platforms for more than a train before they are able to board the train, on the whole the East Rail trains are only loaded to about 70% of their carrying capacity of 70 000 passengers. The main reasons for the capacity not being fully utilised are as follows -

  1. passengers tend to crowd in the middle of the platform for train boarding, partly due to the location of station entrances and escalators/staircases. As a result, the front and rear cars of the 12-car trains are often not fully loaded;

  2. each East Rail train car has three sets of doors. This does not allow rapid boarding/alighting and is not conducive to better utilisation of the inner space of train cars; and

  3. the 12-car trains are arranged in sets of 3 cars or 6 cars. There is no passage between car sets, and the gangway connecting individual cars within the same car set is narrow. These have restricted the spreading of passengers from a crowded part to a less crowded part of the train.

(B) Improvement measures

5. In order to facilitate better utilisation of the carrying capacity of East Rail and to further increase the capacity, KCRC has introduced the following improvement measures -

  1. Train refurbishment - KCRC is now undertaking a programme to refurbish its entire train fleet. The improvement works include increasing the number of doors for each car from 3 sets to 5 sets, widening the gangway between train cars within the same train car set, providing gangways between train car sets, and using longitudinal seating arrangements. It is expected that the train capacity will be increased by 15% and the average loading of trains will be improved. The refurbishment programme will be completed by 1999.

  2. Improvements to the signalling system - KCRC is now upgrading its signalling system which, upon completion, can increase the East Rail service from the existing 20 trains per hour to 24 trains per hour in one direction, i.e. an increase of 20%. The new signalling system will be commissioned in mid-1998.

  3. Station improvement works - Additional station entrances and escalators/staircases are being built to facilitate a more even spread of waiting passengers along the station platform and a smoother and more efficient passenger flow.

6. Upon completion of the above improvements, East Rail can increase the passenger capacity to over 90 000.


7. The Feasibility Study has estimated that upon opening in 2004, the MOS Rail will carry about 20 000 passengers southbound per hour during the morning peak times. By 2011, the growth of the MOS Rail patronage will add about 10 000 passengers.

8. The MOS Rail Tai Wai station will be constructed adjacent to the existing Tai Wai station so that there will be an integrated concourse for the two stations. No ticket barriers will be installed at this interchange station to facilitate smooth passenger movements. In addition, the existing Tai Wai station will be expanded by widening the platform and enlarging the concourse to build additional escalators and lifts. Furthermore, KCRC will closely monitor passenger demand on the East Rail and MOS Rail and make arrangements for running extra southbound trains from Fo Tan or Sha Tin to facilitate passenger flow.


9. At present, KCR East Rail passengers can only interchange to MTR, or vice versa, at Kowloon Tong station. During the morning peak times, the volume of passengers interchanging from KCR East Rail to MTR at Kowloon Tong station is about 20 000 passengers per hour, and is projected to increase to 35000 by 2011. With the TST Extension, East Rail and MOS Rail passengers will have a choice between -

  1. changing to the MTR at Kowloon Tong; or

  2. staying on the KCR to reach Tsim Sha Tsui or to interchange at Tsim

Sha Tsui to cross the harbour.

The TST Extension will therefore relieve the pressure on the Kowloon Tong interchange and the Nathan Road section of the MTR Tsuen Wan Line.

10. It is estimated that by 2006, the TST Extension will generate an interchange demand of around 13 000 KCR passengers in Tsim Sha Tsui during morning peak times. At present, MTR Tsim Sha Tsui station handles about 25 000 passengers per hour during the morning peak times, and MTRC is implementing improvement works to further enhance its handling capability to 40 000.

11. It is envisaged that the MTR Tung Chung Line, which is due to open in mid-1998, will help relieve the congestion along the MTR Tsuen Wan Line and ease the pressure on the MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station.

Transport Bureau
Government Secretariat
10 February 1998