The cross-harbour extension of Hong Kong’s East Rail Line – connecting Hung Hom and Admiralty with a new station at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre – will begin operations on May 15.

Admiralty station. Photo: MTR.

Travel time between Hung Hom and Admiralty will be reduced from 19 minutes to seven minutes, Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan said on Tuesday.

A current map of the East Rail Line. Photo: MTR, via Facebook.

After the extension is put into service, Admiralty will become a “mass interchange station” for four MTR lines.

Photo: MTR.

The four lines include the Island Line, the South Island Line, the Tsuen Wan Line, and the East Rail Line, which will run from Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau on the border with mainland China to Admiralty on Hong Kong Island.

The extended section of Admiralty MTR station. Photo: MTR, via Facebook.

When asked how the government would prepare for an increase of passenger flow during rush hours, Chan said that the MTR would mobilise “short distance trains” depending on demand.

Admiralty station. Photo: MTR.

“Sometimes I will take the train to go to Kowloon after work. Often there are a lot of people at the platform who have to wait for two or three intervals, but after two or three trains, an empty train will arrive to take all citizens waiting at Admiralty station… I believe that the East Rail Line will do the same…” said Chan.

The Exhibition Centre station. Photo: MTR, via Facebook.

The East Rail Line encountered signalling issues while under construction, something that pro-establishment lawmaker Michael Tien said the MTR knew about months before the matter was addressed.

Admiralty station. Photo: MTR.

Chan was also asked on Tuesday how he would comment on the government’s monitoring of the construction.

Photo: MTR.

“A lot of improvement works are underway, as well as efforts to improve capacity, monitoring, and regulations on procedures,” Chan said.

“Past experience, if not forgotten, is a guide for the future. I believe it is something we should learn from.”

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Candice Chau

Candice is a reporter at Hong Kong Free Press. She previously worked as a researcher at a local think tank. She has a BSocSc in Politics and International Relations from the University of Manchester and a MSc in International Political Economy from London School of Economics.