Tung Chung station may not open Monday in wake of protestor attack
Tung Chung station and a number of other MTR stations may remain closed Monday after protestors vandalised machines and equipment today.
Following attacks on 32 stations across the city on Saturday evening, 12 MTR stations sustained damage today.
MTR Corp. described the damage as “very severe” and, without providing any detail, said some stations may remain closed Monday.
It said in the incidents on Sunday, which also included Tsing Yi, Tsuen Wan and Lai King stations that “people damaged CCTVs, ticket issuing machines and add-value machines, took away fire extinguishers and defaced stations.”
Tung Chung was one of the worst hit.
In doubtless the most violent day in the suburb’s short history, protestors arrived late in the afternoon as they retreated from the airport, building barricades and lighting a bonfire on Chek Lap Kok en route.
MTR Corp said it had had to close the Airport Express because of people entering the track and throwing stones and steel bars onto the tracks.
The protestors entered Tung Chung station and attacked ticket machines, sprayed graffiti and flooded the floor with water.
Some entered the Station Control Room, forcing staff to evacuate, MTR Corp said.
By the time police arrived in force at around 6:30pm most had departed.
Many were reported walking on the freeway towards Sunny Bay and the toll booth, where according to social media posts they were picked up by private vehicles.
Citigate mall and Fu Tung Plaza closed down following the incident, while local bus services were terminated at North Lantau Hospital.
Numbering about 200, riot police made a brief patrol around the MTR station before departing at 7:45pm.
MTR Corp said following the damage caused on Saturday night, Prince Edward and Mongkok stations were closed for repairs on Sunday morning while Kowloon Bay did not open until 4pm.
‘Purple haze’ trains to trial on Tung Chung line
MTR Corp has chosen the Tung Chung line to trial its new China-made train carriages, starting tonight.
The new trains, with a striking iridescent purple colour scheme, will be tested after regular services close this evening.
But MTR customers won’t see the new carriages until after the trials are complete some time later this year, according to MTR Corp.
Tung Chung Line passengers will have to wait even longer, HK01 reports.
At this stage the MTR just plans to introduce the new carriages to the Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan, Hong Kong Island and Tseung Kwan O lines.
The first stock arrived in January, replacing the British-made M-Train that has been operating since the 1980s.
The rest will arrive gradually over the next five years.
MTR Corp awarded a HK$6 billion contract in 2015 for 93 new carriages from China train manufacturer CRRC – the largest purchase of rolling stock the company has made.
Councillor condemns govt over slow progress on Tung Chung West station
District Councillor Bill Tang has condemned the government over the lack of progress in building out the MTR line to Tung Chung West.
He said the government’s 2014 railway strategy had “made a clear commitment” to extend the Tung Chung Line out to western Tung Chung by 2024.
Construction of the new station, which would service Yat Tung, the new Area 39 and forthcoming Tung Chung West projects, was due to start in 2020, Tang pointed out at last week’s Islands District Council meeting.
But so far the MTR Corp and the Transport & Housing Bureau had given no indication of the progress and had not begun any public consultation.
“As I understand it, initial design, research and exploration take 18 to 24 months, followed by public consultation and detailed design,” he said, suggesting the government was at risk of falling behind its target of a 2020 start.
Tang, who represents Yat Tung North on the Islands District Council, said the lack of progress showed the government was “neglecting the livelihood of the people in the district and deserves to be condemned.”
In a written response, the Transport Bureau said it had received a proposal just last month from MTR Corp on possible development the Tung Chung East and West stations. But it could give no further details.
“The actual implementation of the project will depend on the subsequent detailed engineering, environmental and financial research findings, and the latest assessment of passenger demand and the adequacy of resources,” it said.
The government has not set a precise timetable for the Tung Chung West residential development, but has said the first people are likely to move in in the early 2020s.
Preliminary work on the project, which will provide 14,000 apartments near Shek Mun Kap and Lung Tseng Tau, is now underway, the CEDD said in a submission to the District Council in December.
But work on Housing Authority apartments in Tung Chung area 39 , adjacent to the YMCA College, is nearly complete. It will provide 3,800 rental apartments that will hold an estimated population of more than 11,000.
Photo (top): Nearly-completed Housing Authority project at Tung Chung Area 39
MTR probe into Tung Chung line platform mix-up
MTR Corp has launched an internal probe to understand how an Airport Express train was switched onto the Tung Chung line.
A Hong Kong-bound Airport Express train was leaving Kowloon station at 9:25 yesterday morning when an operations control centre staff member noticed it was set to arrive at the Tung Chung line platform at Hong Kong Station.
The staffer instructed the driver to stop the train and then reset the train route to the Airport Express platform, HK01 reported.
The incident caused a delay on the Tung Chung Line, but otherwise did not affect the safe operation of the trains, MTR said.
The company apologised for the incident and is conducting an internal investigation. It is preparing a report for the Transport Department.
New Year’s Eve: Mui Wo ferry suspended from 11pm-3am
Ferry services will be suspended during the New Year’s fireworks display tonight, with no boats leaving Central between 11pm and 3am.
The last ferries on the Lantau route will leave Mui Wo and Central at 10:50pm and 11pm respectively.
The regular 11:40 and 12:30am services from Central will be cancelled.
Revellers wishing to take the ferry back to Mui Wo will have to wait for the 3am sailing.
MTR: All-night service
MTR lines will run all night.
Tung Chung Line trains will leave Hong Kong Station every six minutes from 8pm-2am, and every 12 minutes from 2am-6am.
Bus timetable unchanged
New Lantao Bus services will run unchanged tonight. Services as follows:
The 3M will depart Tung Chung for South Lantau at 12:15am, 12:50am and 6am.
The 11 will depart Tung Chung at 12:40, 1:20 and 6:20am.
The N35 will depart the airport for South Lantau at 1:30 and 4:30am.
The N1 will depart Mui Wo for Tai O at 3:45am.
Holden Chow calls on MTR to speed up Tung Chung East station development
Islands District Councillor and DAB vice-chairman Holden Chow has called on the MTR Corp to bring forward the construction of the Tung Chung East station to align with the timetable for building new apartments.
Under the current timetable, the first residents will start moving into the Tung Chung East Development in 2023, but the new MTR station won’t be completed until 2026.
Chow said the construction of the third runway would bring many work opportunities, including for local residents, and the most effective way to ensure they could take advantage of these would be to connect airport island and TC directly.
He said the MTR was studying the idea of adding an extra Tung Chung Line station to connect to the airport and urged the government or the MTR to release their findings, RTHK reports.
Reclamation work on the Tung Chung East project is due to start by the end of the year.
The CEDD plans to build 40,800 apartments in Tung Chung East and another 8,600 in Tung Chung West. It has forecast that Tung Chung East will accommodate an 119,000 people.
Epic typhoon traffic jam sent passengers scurrying for MTR
Typhoon Khunan brought more than wind and rain to Hong Kong yesterday – it also helped create a massive traffic jam.
Traffic control measures on the Lantau Link caused vehicles heading to the airport and Tung Chung to back up as far as Stonecutters Bridge and Sham Tseng.
The result was rare scenes of people abandoning their rides and walking to the Tsing Yi and Disney MTR stations in order to catch their flights.
The traffic jam, which at one stage reached 13 kilometres long, followed the closure of the Tsing Ma and Ting Kau bridges. Vehicles were diverted to the lower deck of the Tsing Ma, causing drivers to be delayed in traffic for up to four hours, Apple Daily reported.
Secretary for Transport & Housing Frank Chan called for public understanding over the traffic controls, which were intended to ensure public safety. He told reporters restrictions were introduced only when the wind speed on Tsing Ma or Ting Kau bridges exceeded a specified level.
It was the second major traffic jam on the Lantau Link in two months. Drivers were delayed for several hours when the two-way toll was introduced in August.
The T8 storm signal was raised for 11 hours yesterday, in which time 479 flights were delayed and 79 were cancelled, according to Apple Daily.
Photo (top): Traffic banked up behind Ting Kau Bridge
Thousands of Lantau commuters in line for fare subsidy
Thousands of South Lantau and Tung Chung commuters will likely qualify for the new government public transport subsidy.
Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced yesterday the government would subsidise long-distance commuters by up to $300 a month.
Commuters who spend above the $400 threshold in month will receive a subsidy of 25% for further costs.
Most South Lantau ferry commuters spend that in just over a week. A passenger taking the fast ferry between Mui Wo and Central Monday to Friday spends $313 a week, or around $1250 monthly.
Commuters travelling via MTR from Tung Chung to most points in Kowloon or Hong Kong Island will also be eligible. An adult taking the MTR five times a week from Tung Chung to Central will pay $224 using Octopus, or approximately $900 a month.
The scheme will cover the fares of MTR, buses, green minibuses, ferries and trams. The government predicts that approximately two million Hong Kong people will qualify for the subsidy.
Lam said she expects the scheme to begin in about a year after Legco provides funding.
MTR to build another 14,000 apartments on Tung Chung Bay
Yet another North Lantau Coast development is on the drawing board.
The latest is MTR Corp’s residential and retail project at Siu Ho Wan, about three kilometres east of Tung Chung.
The 30ha development, on top of the MTR rail depot, will create 14,000 apartments and 320,000 square feet of shopping malls, Economic Times reports.
Much of it will be low-rise, with altogether 108 buildings planned to house 38,000 people. The development will also include three schools, four kindergartens and a public transport interchange.
More than a quarter of the residential buildings will be built along the coast, looking out across Tung Chung Bay. More than 40 low-rise residential blocks will face North Lantau Highway.
However, the project is some time away. Construction is not expected to start until 2023 when work on the low-rise homes is due to get underway, and initial occupants are scheduled to move in in 2026. The final stage of the three-part project is forecast to complete in 2038.
The development will also include a new MTR station, due to start construction in 2016 and be completed in 2026. It is the third new station planned for the area, along with Tung Chung West and Tung Chung East.
WEEKEND NEWS: Another MTR fault; Shirley Kwan; Raking it in
Local MTR service was hit with yet another failure near Tung Chung station on Saturday morning.
A signalling breakdown at 8:25 am meant that passengers had to wait 15 minutes for trains from Hong Kong to Tung Chung and five minutes from Tung Chung. Services returned to normal at 8:50.
The line ground to a halt for an hour in early April because an equipment failure caused a train to stop, blocking the line.
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Singer Shirley Kwan attended Lantau North Police Station on Friday afternoon, Apple Daily reported.
While she and her male companion declined to give details, the singer was arrested in March following an incident at the Auberge Discovery Bay Hotel in which an hotel staff member was assaulted. Police say a 50-year-old woman will appear in West Kowloon Magistrates Court on May 24 on charges of criminal intimidation and assault.
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One property investor is already profit-taking from the Hong Kong-Macao Bridge – by selling parking spaces, Ming Pao reports. Since late last year Hung Lungtsuen has been buying parking lots in Tung Chung, anticipating a rise in demand after the bridge opens next year. He sold one parking lot, acquired for more than HK$90 million, for HK$110 million early this year.
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Unpopular Education Secretary Eddie Ng has drawn a lot of press this weekend for his appearance dancing with students at the Buddhist Fat Ho Memorial College in Tai O on Friday.
Local media have contrasted this with his repeated failures to appear at hearings on the controversial local school assessment system, TSA. While on Lantau Ng also paid a visit to Po Lin Monastery.
Photo: Wiki Commons