Tung Chung line

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Tung Chung line
A Train Tung Chung Line 15-07-2017.jpg
Tung Chung line train approaching Sunny Bay station
TypeCommuter Rail
LocaleDistricts: Central and Western, Yau Tsim Mong, Sham Shui Po, Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan, Islands
TerminiHong Kong
Tung Chung
Ridership236,900 daily average
(weekdays, September 2014)[1]
Opened21 June 1998 (1998-06-21)
Depot(s)Siu Ho Wan
Rolling stock
Line length31.1 km (19.3 mi)
Track gauge1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in)
Electrification1.5 kV DC
Operating speed135 km/h (84 mph)
Route map
Tung Chung Line.svg

Hong Kong     
Nam Cheong     
Lai King     
Tsing Yi     
Sunny Bay     
Siu Ho Wan depot
Siu Ho Wan
Tung Chung East
Tung Chung
Tung Chung West
Tung Chung line
Traditional Chinese東涌綫
Literal meaningEast (of a) branch of a river — 東涌

The Tung Chung line is one of the eleven rapid transit lines of the MTR system in Hong Kong, linking Tung Chung with Hong Kong Island. A part of the Tung Chung line was built along with the Kap Shui Mun Bridge and the Tsing Ma Bridge; the line currently travels through eight stations in 27 minutes along its route. The line is indicated by the colour orange.


In October 1989, the Hong Kong government decided to replace the overcrowded Kai Tak International Airport, located in Kowloon, with a new airport to be constructed at Chek Lap Kok; the government also invited the MTR, then called the MTRC, to build a train line to the airport called the Lantau Airport Railway. The project did not begin until the Chinese government and the British government settled financial and land disagreements in November 1994.

The Lantau Airport Railway became two MTR lines, the Tung Chung line and the Airport Express, both lines being served by A-Stock trains with dedicated interior fittings and liveries. On 21 June 1998, the Tung Chung line was officially opened by Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa, and service commenced the next day.

On 16 December 2003, an open house for charity took place at the recently completed Nam Cheong station, an interchange station between the Tung Chung line and the West Rail line (then the KCR West Rail); the station closed on 19 December 2003 in preparation for the opening of West Rail, and it was officially opened to the public on 20 December 2003. At the same time, the number of cars per train increased from seven to eight.

On 1 June 2005, Sunny Bay station, an interchange station for the Disneyland Resort line, opened two months prior to the opening of the Disneyland Resort line on 1 August that year.

Between 2006 and 2007, four new Korean-built K-Stock trains were added to the Tung Chung line to improve service frequency; the first train was received on 9 February 2006 and entered service on 12 June 2006. However, since the new trains were found to be a few millimetres wider than the existing trains, some modifications were made to station platforms.

Route map[edit]

MTR Tung Chung line and Airport Express route map

Route description[edit]

The Tung Chung line, unlike most urban MTR lines, is mostly above ground, and unlike other MTR lines, which are approximately 15 km on average length, this line has a total length of just over 30 km. At the same time, most of the line runs along the Airport Express; the Tung Chung line runs from the east to west. The line is underground from Hong Kong station and crosses the harbour to Kowloon station; the line then emerges to the surface outside Olympian City 2, to reach Olympic station at the surface.

After Olympic station, the line runs at ground level beneath the West Kowloon Expressway, stopping at Nam Cheong station. Then, the line rises above the ground onto a viaduct, which is also built under the West Kowloon Expressway; the viaduct leads into a tunnel in the hills near Lai King. It emerges shortly at Lai King station to provide cross-platform interchange with the Tsuen Wan line.

The line remains on viaduct past Lai King station, and crosses Rambler Channel on the Tsing Lai Bridge to Tsing Yi Island, where it enters Tsing Yi station. Having passed Tsing Yi station, the line enters another tunnel through the hills of Tsing Yi, it travels on the Tsing Ma Bridge and the Kap Shui Mun Bridge, crossing Ma Wan island but no stops within the island.

Eventually, the line leaves the tunnel and travels on the surface along the North Lantau Expressway sharing tracks with the airport express, it stops at Sunny Bay station on the way. The line then shares tracks with the Airport Express before splitting from it just before it reaches Tung Chung New Town. Having re-entered the tunnel, the line terminates at Tung Chung station, located underground.

With a displacement of over 10 km between Sunny Bay and Tung Chung, and no intermediate stations within this section of the track (other than the Siu Ho Wan depot), it takes about 6 minutes to travel between these stations. There are currently no intermediate stations within this section of the track because there are no suitable sites or facilities nearby.

Some westbound trains terminate at Tsing Yi station from Hong Kong, and do not continue to Tung Chung and Sunny Bay, because of the tight capacity of the Tsing Ma Bridge shared with trains of the Airport Express, which limits 1 train on each track on the bridge.[2]


The following is a list of the stations on the Tung Chung line.

Livery and name District Connections Opening date
Tung Chung line
Hong Kong Central and Western      Airport Express
Central station for      Tsuen Wan line and      Island line
22 June 1998
Kowloon Yau Tsim Mong      Airport Express
Nam Cheong Sham Shui Po      West Rail line 20 December 2003
Lai King Kwai Tsing      Tsuen Wan line 10 May 1982 (Tsuen Wan line)
22 June 1998 (Tung Chung line)
Tsing Yi      Airport Express 22 June 1998
Sunny Bay Tsuen Wan      Disneyland Resort line 1 June 2005
Tung Chung Islands Ngong Ping Cable Car 22 June 1998

Design limitations[edit]

When British Hong Kong was planning to build the Airport Railway (Tung Chung Line and Airport Express) in the 1990s, which was a few years before the handover to China, the Chinese government raised concerns about the effect of the project on the territory's fiscal reserves, which eventually forced the Hong Kong government to reduce the cost of the Airport Railway; the resulting changes made to the design imposed limitations on the level of service on the line.[3]

  • The line was originally designed to be entirely quadruple-tracked, but instead features only two tracks within its cross-harbour section and between Tsing Yi and Tung Chung New Town. As a result, signal failures affect both the Tung Chung and Airport Express lines.
  • The Lantau Link section of the line (consisting of the Tsing Ma Bridge, Ma Wan Viaduct, and Kap Shui Mun Bridge) only allows one train to pass through each direction at the same time, raising the minimum headway between trains to 2 minutes 15 seconds. As a result, some Tung Chung Line trains terminate at Tsing Yi during peak hours, instead of travelling the entire line.
  • The signalling system is not capable of giving priority to Airport Express trains; as a result, Tung Chung Line trains stopping at Sunny Bay Station frequently impede Airport Express trains, which do not serve the station.
  • The power supply system restricts the number of trains that can run between Kowloon and Lai King at once: a maximum of one Airport Express train between Kowloon and Lai King, and two Tung Chung trains between Lai King and Olympic. As a result, the shortest headway on the Tung Chung Line is 3.5 minutes.

Future development[edit]

The Tung Chung line was designed to facilitate an extension from Hong Kong station eastward. According to the Rail Projects Under Planning 2000 released by Hong Kong Highways Department, three new stations, Tamar, Exhibition Centre and Causeway Bay North, will form part of the extension; the line will then connect North Point station and merge into the Tseung Kwan O line. However 14 years later on the Railway Development Strategy 2014 Tamar station would become the terminus for both the Tseung Kwan O line and Tung Chung line while Exhibition and Causeway Bay North stations would be served by the Tseung Kwan O line.

Residents of Yat Tung Estate have appealed to the government to extend the Tung Chung line to Tung Chung West station near Yat Tung to ease their transportation problems. Yat Tung currently has 40,000 residents, they claimed that when they moved in 11 years ago, the Housing Bureau's documents indicated a MTR station at the estate. The residents currently have to take a 10-minute bus journey to Tung Chung station.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Weekday patronage of MTR heavy rail network from September 1 to 27 and September 28 to October 25, 2014" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hong Kong. 29 October 2014. Retrieved 15 April 2015.
  2. ^ "Legislative Council Panel on Transport, Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways, Airport Railway Capacity" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hong Kong. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2017.
  3. ^ (in Chinese)MTR Service Update (26 November 2012). "為甚麼東涌綫總是班次疏落?". Retrieved 28 November 2012.
  4. ^ (in Chinese)逸東邨居民要求建港鐵站 Wen Wei Po. 25 May 2011.