The Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Murray Maclehose opened the first stage of the colony's multi-million dollar underground railway system on Sunday (30 September).
The Governor of Hong Kong, Sir Murray Maclehose opened the first stage of the colony's multi-million dollar underground railway system on Sunday (30 September). The railway, described as the biggest civil engineering project undertaken in Hong Kong, will eventually link the industrial district with the commercial and business centre.
SYNOPSIS: Before Sir Murray pressed the button to send the first passenger train out of Shek Kip Mei station, a traditional Chinese lion dance was performed on the platform to bless the inauguration of the railway. Dignitaries travelling with Sir Murray on the four-carriage train paid a much higher fare than the thousands of passengers expected to use the railway after the first day - each made a donation of five hundred Hong Kong dollars (100 United States Dollars) which was given to charity. The underground railway brought Hong Kong into line with other of the world's major financial centres and capitals equipped with mass transport system.
The project cost five thousand, eight hundred million Hong Kong Dollars (1,160 Million United States' Dollars) to construct. Eight kilometres (12.8 miles) of the track were operational after the inauguration and the remainder of the fifteen point six kilometre (24.5 miles) system is scheduled to be opened by February. An international team of engineers, transport experts and financiers from Britain, France, West Germany, Japan, Canada and the United States were involved in the project.
When the system fully operational, the railway will be able to carry one thousand, five hundred passengers an hour in the four-carriage trains which will run every three minutes during the peak travel periods. The first line will link only eight stations but eventually the underground will cross Hong Kong harbour and join up with an electric railway system to the border so easing commuter congestion on the colony's tram service.