Today in Transportation History – 2014: Hong Kong Gets Two New MTR Stations

Two new stations serving Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) network were officially opened to the public early in the morning. The stations were built in a hilly region of the Western District of Hong Kong Island.  One of these facilities, Kennedy Town Station, is located in the Kennedy Town community on the northwestern end of the island and serves as the terminus for this section of the MTR; the next facility on the line, HKU (Hong Kong University) Station, is based in the Shek Tong Tsui community and provides a direct connection with the University of Hong Kong.

The stations were the first two opened on what is now the three-station West Island Line, a 1.9-mile (3 kilometer)-long western extension of the Island Line (one of MTR’s 11 main lines) in the Western District’s most densely populated area. Just over three months after both of these stations made their formal debut, the Sai Ying Pun Station – the third and final station of the West Island Line – was opened in the Sai Ying Pun community between HKU Station and the Island Line’s Sheung Wan Station.

Construction on Kennedy Town and HKU Stations began in 2010. On the day before each station actually opened for public use, a dedication ceremony for both facilities was held at Kennedy Town Station. “For many years, the Western District community has looked forward to the extension of Island Line service into their neighborhood,” said MTR Corporation’s chairman Raymond K.F. Ch’ien during the ceremony. “I take this opportunity to thank the residents for their patience and support during construction of the extension.”

Ch’ien also highlighted the artwork featured at the each of the new stations. “Western District boasts a long history and is rich in culture,” he stated. “Its unique characteristics are captured on the walls of Kennedy Town and HKU stations through the many photographic images collected from local residents.”

Along with being one of the first two stations on the West Island Line to open, HKU Station has a few other distinctions that set it apart. Measuring 820 feet (250 meters) in height and 72 feet (22 meters) in width, it is the largest station in the entire MTR network. With a depth of 230 feet (70 meters) below ground, this facility is also the rapid transit system’s deepest underground station. In addition, HKU Station was the first MTR station to be built with elevator-only entrances for passengers such as those with limited mobility who are not able to use escalators or stairs to get to the train platforms. HKU Station was also the first MTR station to feature “refuge areas” where passengers can be evacuated to and kept safe during emergency situations.

For more information on the MTR’s West Island Line, including Kennedy Town and HKU Stations, please check out https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Island_Line.

Additional information on the entire MTR network is available at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MTR.

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