South Island Line
Well the steady march of progress isn’t unknown to the MTR corporation. Another year comes with another update to the system map. This time however it’s an entire new line. This is the first completely new line (at least by name) to open since the Disneyland resort line in 2005.
The line is the second shortest on the network at only 7.6 km (after the Disneyland Resort line of course). Also notable is that the trains are driverless just like the Disneyland resort line. They have Fully Autonomous Operation (FAO) which means they are self driving trains. The trains can start, stop, open/close doors and deal with emergency situations entirely unattended. There is of course monitoring from the Operations Control centre (OCC) in Tsing Yi where they can also be remotely controlled or recovered from in extraordinary circumstances.
The ride itself as you’d expect was quite a quick one. I did it one January evening so the temperature wasn’t too bad. I started with a ferry ride to Wan Chai and the short journey to Admiralty station. After the selfie was secured I just needed to get over to the other side of the island. This meant a climb up Magazine Gap road to Wan Chai gap. This was the first time I’d been up this hill so after all these years the MTR Challenge was still taking me places I hadn’t been before.
Finding the four new stations was pretty straight forward as they were for the most part all along the road that runs along, appropriately enough, the south side of the island. I’ve been along this road dozens of times when I’ve done my numerous circumcycles of the island. Another novelty for me however was going onto the island of Ap Lei Chau where the final two stations are. Like I said, it’s still taking me to new places.
After visiting the latest jewels in the MTR’s crown I completed the loop back around the island and got the ferry home. The stats for the whole ride: 42 km, 3 hours 2 minutes, 17.8 km/h average speed.