The (Chinese: 西鐵綫) (formerly called West Rail, Chinese: 西鐵) is one of the MTR lines in Hong Kong. It starts at Nam Cheong Station in Sham Shui Po and ends at Tuen Mun Station in Tuen Mun. Only two of its stations, Mei Foo Station and Tsuen Wan West Station, were laid underground, with the others above ground.
Currently the West Rail Line provides a local service on its own. No inter-city service is offered, making it effectively more like a metro instead of a commuter railway, although it was built in commuter railway standard, and was expected to accommodate other trains in the future.
The railway line was operated by Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) as part of the three lines in its network prior to the MTR-KCR merger. Operation has since since been taken over by MTR Corporation on 2 December 2007 after the merger completed.
The line is coloured magenta on the MTR map. The distance between Nam Cheong and Tuen Mun stations is 30.5km.
A railway to the northwestern New Territories from the urban area in Kowloon was proposed in the early 1990s. Both the MTR and the KCRC submitted plans to the government, but ultimately the KCRC's proposal to Tin Shui Wai new town was selected. However, several major accidents on Tuen Mun Road made residents in Tuen Mun request a railway connection within the centre of the new town of Tuen Mun. This made the route in the final proposal deviate from the original plan (which terminated at the centre of Tin Shui Wai new town), to terminate near Tuen Mun Town Centre.
Originally, the KCRC expected the West Rail line to have a daily ridership figure of 200,000 passengers, but poor onward connections between stations and the areas they serve meant that the number of commuters choosing to use the line remained far short of the goal after opening. The KCRC was also blamed for its route planning and forceful reduction of bus services, which has mainly been provided by Kowloon Motor Bus after operations began.
Furthermore, due to the frequent breakdowns, the chairman of KCRC, Michael Tien, announced that if the performance of did not improve, he would considered resigning. Although monthly passes were introduced on August 1 2004, and the daily ridership increased to 150,000, there was still a long way to go before the KCRC's goal of 200,000 passengers was met.
Since December 20 2004, the further discount of 20% was cancelled due to the quick recovery of the economy and a ridership increase to 170,000. The monthly pass concession was extended for another half a year.
A Sightseeing Bus service was run as a temporary additional service of the West Rail Line in the northwest New Territories. This service was launched on 26 September 2004 and ended on 28 November. ]
In August 2005, Michael Tien announced that 90% of breakdowns of the signalling system are due to failure of axle counters. 45% of the whole line is elevated, which makes power lines easier to be hit by lightning, therefore causing such breakdowns. The average distance between two stations is 3 km, which results in a longer time for engineers to repair the signalling system. The most serious breakdown occurred on July 21 2005 and caused a delay of up to 40 minutes, which exceeds the total journey time of 30 minutes.
For this reason, KCRC decided to throw over HK$10M to improve the signalling system, including hiring foreign railway experts and finding solutions to decrease down-time.
The track is mostly above ground, it runs from east to west. It starts at Nam Cheong station, which is ground level (although the track is completely covered and sealed at this point), and it is located right of West Kowloon Highway. Then the track goes beneath the ground, and it soon is at the underground Mei Foo station. At Tsuen Wan West it is as well underground. After the station the track goes into the hills before emerging before Kam Sheung Road station. The rest of the track was constructed on a viaduct, so there is room for an emergency passage.
The fare system of the line generally follows the other lines on the ex-KCR network. Octopus cards and single ride tickets are available. All persons aged between 12 and 64 (including students) are charged the Adult fare, while children aged 11 or below, and elderly aged 65 or above. After the Rail Merger, passengers using Octopus cards interchanging at Mei Foo or Nam Cheong stations to the or may enjoy fare concessions. The total fare is calculated from the starting and ending stations in the whole journey, irrespective of which interchange station was chosen.
The line also offers day passes and monthly passes. Monthly Passes are stored in the Octopus Card, and allows the passenger to enjoy unlimited rides of the West Rail Line, Light Rail, MTR Buses, MTR Feeder Bus Route K16 and designated minibus routes within the month. They are sold at $400 and holders of the $300 monthly pass can continue to enjoy the $300 / month offer. Day Passes are in the form of a magnetic ticket, plus a paper folder which is called the "Boarding Pass" for the free interchange to MTR Bus and Light Rail. They are sold at $20, and the passenger can enjoy unlimited rides of the West Rail Line, Light Rail, MTR Buses and MTR Feeder Bus Route K16 within the service day. They need to use the ticket to pass through the entry / exit gates at West Rail Line stations. When travelling on buses, they need to present the ticket with the boarding pass when they board. When travelling on the Light Rail, they need to present the ticket with the boarding pass during ticket inspection. Holders of 10 West Rail Line Day Passes can exchange for a new West Rail Day Pass at West Rail Line Stations.
This is a list of all the stations on West Rail. The coloured boxes holding the station names represent the unique colour motif for the station.
# Under construction
At 09:15 on February 14 2007, a passenger train broke down when one of the transformers mounted on the train (EMU SP1900) roof exploded. It is suspected that the overheated transformer caused its insulating oil to vapourise, thus causing the explosion. In addition, the circuit breaker of the transformer apparently failed to cut the power supply to the transformer.
This incident occurred in a tunnel on the southbound section between Kam Sheung Road and Tsuen Wan West, about 2 km from Tsuen Wan West. Around 650 passengers had to evacuate through the dark tunnel to the station, and around 340 people returned to the ground through a ventilation shaft at Chai Wan Kok. Eleven people were sent to hospital. Train services returned normal after 4 hours .
See main article: Northern Link (MTR), Kowloon Southern Link and Sha Tin to Central Link. The will be extended both to the south and north in the future. The Northern Link will go from Kam Sheung Road Station to Lok Ma Chau Station, and to Sheung Shui Station via Chau Tau Station. The Kowloon Southern Link will be an extension from Nam Cheong Station to the Hung Hom Station via East Tsim Sha Tsui Station with an intermediate station to be called Austin Station located east of Kowloon Station station on the and .
There were suggestions to use the tracks of the West Rail Line to accommodate the future Regional Express to Guangzhou via Shenzhen. However, dedicated corridor option has been decided during the Hong Kong/Guangdong Co-operation Joint Conference held on August 2007.