20 December 2003
KCR West Rail Inaugurates Today
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) today (20 December 2003) celebrated the inauguration of KCR West Rail at Kam Sheung Road Station. Officiating at the ceremony were the Chief Executive of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Mr Tung Chee Hwa; the Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Dr Sarah Liao; KCRC Chairman Mr Michael Tien, Chief Executive Officer Mr K Y Yeung, Managing Board members Mr Vincent Lo, Mr Patrick Paul and Mr Wan Man-yee, Chief Executive Officer (Designate) Mr Samuel Lai, Senior Director, Capital Projects Mr James Blake, Senior Director, Transport Mr Y T Li, Director, East Rail Extensions Mr K K Lee, Director, Operations Mr Jonathan Yu and Director, West Rail Mr Ian Thoms.
"After more than four years of construction and one year of testing, West Rail opens for service today," Mr Tien announced at the ceremony.
The inauguration of the 30.5km long West Rail marks a new era in transport convenience for the people of Hong Kong. "Today is a banner day not just for KCRC but also for the residents of Tuen Mun, Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long who commute to and from the city," Mr Tien said. "They can look forward to a direct and frequent service on board trains that are fast and reliable."
West Rail has nine stations connecting Sham Shui Po in West Kowloon with Tuen Mun in the North West New Territories. The two interchanges with MTR at Nam Cheong and Mei Foo and the four interchanges with Light Rail at Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai, Siu Hong and Tuen Mun will allow West Rail passengers to make easy and convenient transfers to other transportation systems.
West Rail operates up to 20 seven-car trains per hour per direction at 3-minute intervals during peak hours. The first train departs Tuen Mun at 05:45, and Nam Cheong at 06:00. The last train departs from Tuen Mun and Nam Cheong at 00:15. A journey from Nam Cheong to Tuen Mun takes only 30 minutes.
The commissioning of West Rail marks an important milestone for KCRC and clearly demonstrates the Corporation’s ability to undertake large scale infrastructure projects. All of KCRC’s other railway projects are making good progress, with both the Ma On Shan Rail and Tsim Sha Tsui Extension projects expected to begin revenue operations before the end of 2004. Construction of the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line is well underway, and work on the Kowloon Southern Link and Sha Tin to Central Link is scheduled to start next year and in 2005 respectively.
West Rail is just the beginning. Mr Tien further pointed out that in the next few years KCRC’s new projects, together with West Rail, will form a much larger integrated rail network and serve even greater numbers of Hong Kong people. He also said, "we will not let you down as we will make every effort to provide Hong Kong with the highest quality of railway service we are capable of delivering."