Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway (MTR) has signed agreements with the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) for the operation of phase one of the Tuen Ma rail line.

Scheduled to begin operations on 14 February, phase one of the line has three new stations: Hin Keng, Diamond Hill and Kai Tak.

Phase one will extend the current Ma OnShan line to Kowloon East and see a new tunnel constructed below Lion Rock.

The agreements last for a two-year period.

The entities signed three agreements, including an amendment operating agreement (AOA) and a supplemental operating agreement (SOA) to the current integrated operating agreement, which exists between the government and Hong Kong MTR.

The third agreement is a supplemental service concession agreement (SSCA) between all three entities.

Hong Kong MTR Corporation chairman Rex Auyeung said: “Completion of TML phase one is very important for Hong Kong and, as the project manager, the corporation is delighted to be appointed as the operator for this section.”

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“We are excited that this new rail line will soon be commissioned to further enhance Hong Kong’s railway network with improved accessibility for passengers and we are fully geared up to start operations of this new line on 14 February.

“Although there are inevitably challenges in opening a new line, we are confident of providing a safe and efficient railway service and managing any teething issues that may arise.

Hong Kong MTR’s business, including transport operations, commercial operations, property rentals and business with mainland China, has suffered significantly due to the outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent transport restrictions.

Last week, Hong Kong stopped the passenger clearance services at ten control points from the previous six. This has significantly reduced the travel between the two regions.

In January, Hong Kong chief executive Carrie Lam announced that the authorities have restricted travel from mainland China.