Monday, September 29, 2008

Ngong Ping 360

Ngong Ping 360 is a tourism project in Lantau Island, Hong Kong, consisting of Ngong Ping and Ngong Ping Village. It is owned by the MTR Corporation, built and originally operated by Skyrail-ITM until it was sacked after an investigation following an incident where a cable car plunged 50m to the ground. The project was previously known as Tung Chung Cable Car Project before branded as such in April 2005.

Ngong Ping Cable Car

Ngong Ping Cable Car is a 5.7  long bi-cable gondola lift system linking between Tung Chung and Ngong Ping . Between the two terminals at Tung Chung and Ngong Ping, the lift system runs across the southern shore of the Hong Kong International Airport and Nei Lak Shan, with eight towers including the stations.

The system was originally scheduled to open on 24 June, 2006. However, due to the incident on 17 June, 2006, , Skyrail-ITM postponed the opening day to fix the technical problems. After two months of improvement works and repair for the damages made by in August 2006, Ngong Ping 360 resumed a trial-run of 7 days from 30 August, 2006. It was opened on 18 September, 2006. However, there have already been several reports of technical problems, some of them caused by strong winds.


The cable car journey offers a 25 minute aerial alternative to the current one-hour journey by Tung Chung Road, allowing visitors to glide across Tung Chung Bay and up to Lantau Island towards Ngong Ping Plateau.

The cableway starts at the Tung Chung Terminal, runs across Tung Chung Bay to an angle station on , where it turns through about 60 degrees before returning across Tung Chung Bay. It then runs up the Lantau North Country Park to another angle station near Nei Lak Shan, before finally descending to the Ngong Ping Terminal.

During the 25 minute journey, travelers can see panoramic views over the North Lantau Country Park, the South China Sea, Hong Kong International Airport, the Tung Chung valley, Ngong Ping Plateau and surrounding terrain and waterways. As visitors approach Ngong Ping, they can see The Big Buddha and the Po Lin Monastery.

Selection and design

The corporation has adopted a continuous circulating bi-cable aerial ropeway system for the Project. Between the Tung Chung and Ngong Ping Terminals, the 5.7 km cableway changes direction twice at the two angle stations, one on the south shore of Chek Lap Kok; the other west of Nei Lak Shan within the Lantau North Country Park.

A lot of emphasis was placed during the design development stage on harmonising the cable car development with the surrounding environment. As a result, all the terminals and angle stations are designed with unique character to blend in with the ambiance. The themed village has been designed to reflect and maintain the cultural and spiritual integrity of the Ngong Ping area, and to complement the existing attractions in the area and the cable car ride.

The cableway and the cabins come from the Leitner Group. A continuous circulating bi-cable aerial ropeway system, where the track cable acts as a rail in the sky and the haul cable pulls the cabins, allows long spans between towers. It is the first of its type to be installed in Hong Kong.

The cableway is supported by 8 towers. The cabin has a modern design with seating for 10 and standing room for another 7. It also incorporates features to meet the needs of disabled passengers, including elderly and wheelchair users. The system has a capacity of 3,500 people per hour in each direction.

Construction history

Construction of the Cable Car Project started at the beginning of 2004. The cableway has 8 towers, 5 of them located within the country park. The project was completed and started running on 18 September 2006.


On 17 June, 2006, during the trial-run with the maximum of 109 gondola cabins on the ropeway, a cabin arriving Ngong Ping station had a slight collision with a late departing cabin. The entire system was automatically halted by the safety system. 500 people in the cabin were trapped for three hours. A further 600 visitors were trapped at the Ngong Ping station. After the incident, all trial-runs were canceled, and the commencement date of the system was postponed.

After service commencement, system failures still occur occasionally.

At about 8:20 p.m. of 11 June, 2007, a gondola cabin fell off the ropeway and crashed into a hilly area near Chek Lap Kok South Road during a brake test which was part of the annual examination of the ropeway. There were no passengers inside the cabin when it fell down and no one was injured on the ground.

After an investigation, a cable car worker was charged with criminal negligence related to the incident, and Skyrail-ITM was sacked from operating the service. The cable car service was halted indefinitely until 23 December where it underwent one week of trial run involving 40,000 visitors riding for free. MTR Corporation took over the operations of Ngong Ping 360 and it reopened officially on 31 December, 2007.

Ngong Ping Village

The Ngong Ping Village is built next to the Ngong Ping Cable Car Terminal, occupies a 15,000 square metre site and has been designed to mirror and uphold the cultural and spiritual veracity of the Ngong Ping area. Traditional are a feature of the Ngong Ping Village, which contains an assortment of shopping and dining experiences, on top of a number of key attractions including Walking with Buddha, the Monkey's Tale Theatre and the Ngong Ping Tea House.

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