The new East Rail Line cross-harbour extension in Hong Kong began operations on early Sunday morning (May 15).
Mad dash for the first train
The opening was met with a large crowd of rail enthusiasts who could not wait to check out the new train line, and sprinted to be the first onboard.
Those waiting to board the first train at the front of the crowd said that they waited outside the Exhibition Centre station since 10pm the previous night, reported Sky Post .
“Running towards the gates, someone left behind their shoe — but it is not a glass slipper,” joked a Hong Kong Open TV reporter at the scene.
2,000 commuters boarded first train
According to Mass Transit Railway (MTR) Operations Director Tony Lee, 2,000 commuters boarded the special first train which departed the new Exhibition Centre Station at 5:25am.
Commuters onboard were extremely excited and some were even singing, Hong Kong media outlet HK01 reported him as saying.
First time in a hundred years
Jacky Lee, a rail enthusiast interviewed by South China Morning Post , said that he was excited as it was the first time in a hundred years that Hong Kong was getting a new cross-harbour rail.
The man also brought with him four generations of train models onboard the first train.
“I was too excited and didn’t enjoy it enough, because it’s too fast and just one stop,” said Donna Yip, who brought her daughter and grandson to the opening.
One train buff told SCMP that he was wearing a hat worn by railway men, and another proudly said that he has been to every railway opening.
Train enthusiasts also bid farewell to the old platform of East Rail Line at Hung Hom Station after 47 years.
Limited edition face masks and pins were also distributed by MTR.
Connects Central Kowloon and Hong Kong Island
This cross-harbour extension of the city's costliest MTR project will directly connect the Northeast New Territories, Central Kowloon, and Hong Kong Island.
The extension from Hung Hom Station to Admiralty Station, which acts as the new terminal station, operates via the new Exhibition Centre Station at Wan Chai North.
As of 11am, around 8,700 commuters have entered and exited from the Exhibition Centre Station.
Hung Hom Station and Admiralty Station registered 13,300 and 18,800 commuters respectively.
To commemorate the opening, MTR will also be giving away 100,000 free one-way train tickets to MTR Mobile users at 2pm on May 31.
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Top images by SCMP and HK01.
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