Driverless trains developed by a domestic company will start operating on a new subway line in Hong Kong on Dec. 28, according to reports.
Leung Chun-ying, chief executive of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, attended a ceremony at Ocean Park station on Dec 19 to mark the inauguration of the South Island Line.
Hong Kong government launched the seven-km line project in 2007. When it opens to passengers, it will extend the MTR network to the Southern District, allowing the special administrative region's 18 districts to be served by rail.
A fleet of 10 three-car driverless trains will run on the South Island Line, connecting the Southern District with the existing Tsuen Wan Line and Island Line at Admiralty.
The CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co manufactured the driverless trains using technologies developed by China. The first driverless train was produced at a factory in Hong Kong on March 18 this year.
A technician from China Railway Rolling Stock Corp said the line is the first one to use domestically developed and produced driverless subway trains in the country.
"Compared with the normal subway trains, the driverless trains have fully automatic control system," the technician said.
Three "driverless" lines have been in operation in Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai, but the technician said these lines still needed operators in drivers' cabins, and the trains were developed by a foreign company.
Driverless trains started to emerge in Japan and France in early 1980s. Meanwhile, China's self-developed technologies began to mature in recent years and CRRC Sifang Co has exported its driverless trains to Singapore, the technician said.
A newly constructed line in Beijing will also use the driverless trains supplied by the CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co, he said.
An open day will be held on Dec 24 at the new South Island Line stations and the extended part of Admiralty Station for passengers to visit and familiarize themselves with the new station facilities.