Kwun Tong Line: Revisited
Well the MTR network keeps expanding doesn’t it? This time its the turn of extended Kwun Tong Line. I did the original ride more than two years ago. Since then two new stations recently opened 23rd October 2016. One of these was Ho Man Tin station which will also be part of the future East-West rail line on the section between Tai Wai and Hung Hom. The other was Whampoa station in the neighbourhood where I once lived.
For the entire time I lived in Whampoa there was MTR related work going on – tunnelling, cut and cover construction to build the station areas and above ground work at the road junctions to build what would become station entrances. It seemed for a while that every week when I came home from work I had to take a slightly different route through all the roadworks crossing over and crossing back to end up on the correct side of the street. Alas, I moved out long before the extension opened so I never got to see the fruits of the disruption. It certainly would have been handy in all those long queues for the minibus in the mornings.
In the tradition started with the Island Line: Revisited I would be cycling the entire line again. I started at the same end of the line but this time it had a new terminus of course: Whampoa Station. This was one of the first times I had been back to the neighbourhood since I moved out so it was nice to see the transformation. My memories were filled with temporary metal road surfaces covering up noisy goings-on below as well as towering scaffolding above. There were also windy diversion routes around large sections of road which seemed only to be used for storage of various construction equipment reducing the road to a single direction of travel even though that was how I’d only ever know it to be.
The new Whampoa on the day of the cycle seemed open and spacious with large wide open areas around the crossings. The road was back to being bi-directional and of course the new station entrances looked clean and fresh.
I didn’t hang around too long through, just enough time for the customary selfie and we were off. There’s a bit of a hill from Whampoa nearly down at sea level up to Ho Man Tin station. In fact I’m pretty sure the line deep below was almost level, I just happened to chose the highest entrance to the second station for some reason. It was a quite a hot day so I was already well and truly sweaty by the time I got up there. New stations typically have extra MTR staff members hanging around the entrances for some reason. Possibly to reassure the public these escalators and lifts work just the same as the old ones and every other example in the rest of the world. I wonder what they made of a sweaty gweilo turning up to this fairly deserted but brand new entrance snapping a photo and disappearing again after a quick bit of hydration. I hope they didn’t think I was intimidated by the new lift system.
From there it was quite a straightforward ride. A couple of extra years cycling around Hong Kong had given me more awareness of the road network. I knew where I would and probably wouldn’t be able to ride and I had more confidence to zip along certain routes to get to where I wanted to be. Recognising station entrances helped a lot and meant I could get in and out much quicker without having to navigate one-way systems as I had previously. Overall I was done about half an hour quicker this time around – even with two extra stations.
After I finished at Tiu Keng Leng I rode the short distance to the Hong Kong velodrome to take a look around. I was quite impressed and was eager to find some upcoming public events to spectate. However there was nothing I would be able to get to. I still haven’t been back. I think I should take another look at the schedule sometime. Here are a couple of bonus photos of the velodrome.