Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Housing and Panel on Transport
Extension of MTR Island Line to Western District
This paper informs Members about the latest position regarding the extension of the MTR Island Line to Western District, which is part of the proposed West Hong Kong Island Line (WHKIL) in the 1994 Railway Development Strategy.
2.The Railway Development Strategy (the Strategy) announced in December 1994 accorded high priority to the completion of three rail projects by the turn of the century. These include the West Rail, the MTR Tsueng Kwan O Extension and the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai Rail Link which is to couple with the KCR Extension from Hung Hom to Tsim Sha Tsui.
3.The Strategy also recognised the need in the longer term to implement a number of other rail projects depending on land use and infrastructure development. These projects include the WHKIL, which is an extension of the existing MTR Island Line from Sheung Wan, via Kennedy Town to the proposed Green Island Reclamation. According to the Strategy, this railway would be very expensive, even for a shorter section from Sheung Wan to Sai Ying Pun, and could not be justified on transport grounds. Its implementation could only be considered in the context of the future development of the proposed Green Island Reclamation, which could add significantly to the population of the area. Therefore, the Strategy concluded that an extension of the MTR Island Line from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town alone was not essential on transport grounds nor was it financially viable.
4.Since the publication of the Strategy, the Government has been implementing the three priority rail projects which will be completed in the next six years. As regards the other longer term rail projects, they will be considered in the context of the Second Railway Development Study (RDS-2).
Second Railway Development Study (RDS-2)
5.After the three priority rail projects, we need to decide on the next phase of railway development for Hong Kong. Taking into account the latest upward revision in population forecasts, an enhanced housing programme and the economic growth of Hong Kong, we will commence in March 1998 the RDS-2 to examine the longer term rail projects proposed in the 1994 Strategy and identify other new rail schemes which are necessary for sustaining Hong Kong's continued economic, land and housing developments.
6.The WHKIL will be among the longer term rail projects that will be examined in RDS-2. Taking into consideration the latest re-development process of the district, the proposed programme for the Green Island Reclamation and the proposed highway infrastructure development, we will review the technical and financial viability of the WHKIL and examine the appropriate timing for its implementation. We will also investigate the need and viability of constructing the WHKIL in phases from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town first ahead of the Green Island Reclamation.
7.RDS-2 will take about 18 months to complete. Interim recommendations on the most urgent rail projects will be made at an earlier time (at the 8th and 12th months from the commencement of the Study). We will consult the Legislature on the findings of the RDS-2 when they are available.
8.Members are requested to note the position regarding the proposed extension of the MTR Island Line to Western District.
26 February 1998