Guests at Ocean Park in Hong Kong no longer have to take a daredevil cable car ride to get from one side of the park to the other. The new Ocean Express funicular transportation system has opened as part of the park’s ongoing HK$5.55 billion Master Redevelopment Project (MRP), linking the Waterfront and Summit areas in just three minutes.
“We are anticipating an annual attendance of over seven million by around 2017,” explains Ocean Park chairman Dr Allan Zeman, “so when we were planning the MRP, we realised that the current capacity of our cable car systems will be inadequate for the future. We explored all in-park transportation options available. I can still remember how we were called ’crazy!’ when the idea of boring through Brick Hill and putting a funicular system inside the tunnel was put forth. So it gives me great pleasure to present the Ocean Express, which is a real testament to making the impossible possible.”
Seamless planning by Ocean Park management, staff and its appointed engineers and designers has resulted in 1.3-km tunnel and funicular system less than 30 months after the first rock was dug out.
Ocean Express is the world’s only themed funicular system, complete with an immersive show for passengers to enjoy as they travel through tunnel. Contractors included lead consultant AECOM Asia, works contractor Dragages-Bouygues, funicular designer/builder Garaventa AG and Gangloff Switzerland, which made the trains. The rope-powered attraction is sponsored by Volkswagen Hong Kong.
Guests wanting a scenic option can still take the 12-minute cable car journey linking the Waterfront and Summit, from which they will enjoy spectacular views high above the South China Sea.