Hong Kong Railroad fans queue overnight to board the first train in the new port section

Hong Kong Railroad fans queue overnight to board the first train in the new port section

Hong Kong Railroad fans queue overnight to board the first train in the new port section

Avid train fans take a walk on the platform at the Hong Kong Exhibition Center station.  (photo by South China Morning Post)

Avid train fans take a walk on the platform at the Hong Kong Exhibition Center station. (photo by South China Morning Post)

HONG KONG: Hong Kong Railway enthusiasts rushed to board the first train early Sunday morning at a newly opened, cross-section of the city’s most expensive MTR project, with long-awaited re-launches coming after years of costs.

Despite the light rain, hundreds of train enthusiasts lined up overnight outside the entrance to the North Wan Chai Exhibition Center station to be the first passengers in the area.

The Hung Hom-Admiralty section – via the Exhibition Center station in Wan Chai north – is more commonly known as the East Rail Crossroads. It is the fourth crossroads connecting Hong Kong Island with Kowloon and the New Territories.

Fans armed with GoPro cameras, selfie sticks and railway memorabilia shouted “open the gates” and “let us in” as they waited excitedly for the doors to open at the Exhibition Center station at 4.35am. As soon as they passed, they got off the platform for the first train to leave at 5.30 am.

Railway fan Jason Law, who became an Internet sensation after singing a song about the opening of the Tuen Ma line last year, was among the hundreds queuing up at night.

“I’ve been waiting for this day for so long. This is like a post-DSE gift from MTR,” said the 17-year-old, who had just finished his high school diploma or university entrance exam on Friday. .

In anticipation of the opening of the Hung Hom-Admiralty division, MTR Corporation had even created an Excited about Harbor Crossing on the East Rail music video, which was released Thursday afternoon.

The number is a remake of the Greensleeves folk song and includes seven people from different walks of life, including Canto-pop singer Stephanie Cheng and badminton Olympian Tse Ying-suet. Train fan Law, who first sang for the Tuen Ma series on this song, also made a cameo in the music video.

Students Donald Poon, 15, and Toto Leung, 14, were among the hundreds who rushed to the platform as soon as the gates opened.

“We took pictures of the last train on the old platform at Hung Hom at midnight. After that we came straight to the queue. We are very excited about this historic moment,” said Poon, who brought a folding stool for the overnight stay. .

Excited passengers took pictures of the station’s various features, including the shell of a World War II bomb unearthed during construction.

Passengers cheered as the train doors closed, beginning their first voyage across the harbor to the expansion line.

MTR staff also provided free masks and badges to passengers to honor the special occasion. The masks are available in five designs, representing the new Admiralty and Exhibition Center stations, as well as the Hung Hom, Kowloon Tong and Tai Wai exchange stations.

Following the opening of the port extension, the old Hung Hom platform that has served the East Rail for the last 47 years will be decommissioned.

Passengers switching from the East Rail to the Tuen Man line no longer have to walk three minutes to get there. The new East Rail platforms are located one floor below those of the Tuen Ma line, easily accessible via escalators.

Passengers in northern Hong Kong can now travel to the island side to reach commercial and economic hubs in the Admiralty area without commuting. The new section will extend the East Rail line for almost 46 kilometers, with a total of 16 stations.

With the new opening, Admiralty Station will become a major station for four MTR lines – East Rail, Tsuen Wan, Island and South Island.

A journey from the Admiralty across the harbor to Hung Hom takes about seven minutes, while it takes 13 minutes to travel to Kowloon Tong, a major junction on the Kwun Tong Line.

The very late opening of the Hung Hom-Admiralty department put an end to a project plagued by construction delays, malfunctions and cost overruns.

MTR Corp. and its contractors are under investigation by a government-appointed commission of inquiry into malpractice and concealment. The project ended up with HK $ 10 billion above its budget, at a cost of HK $ 90.7 billion.

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