MTR Hong Kong

MTR Hong Kong


In 1989, the Hong Kong Goverment Port and Airport development Study (PADS) chose the island of Chek Lap Kok off the north coast of Lantau island as the site for Hong Kong's new airport. In 1995 work started on the building of a new airport at Lantau Island just off Hong Kong to replace the famous Kai Tak airport with its notoriously difficult approach for aircraft. This required new rail and road links. The new rail link was provided by MTR (Mass Transit Railway system) who put a new high speed link from Hong Kong Island to the new airport. This required new state of the art ticketing systems provided by the UK firm Thorn Transit in Wells Somerset.

My responsibility was to write all of the communications protocols between the Ticket Issuing machines and station turnstiles using TCP/IP communications. I provided my colleagues with a common object oriented communications channel interface into both RPC and Berkeley Socket based communications. This was written in C++ on a Sun Solaris platform. The station equipment consisted of turnstiles with an Intel processor running rhe QNX embedded operating system. This allowed all ticket transactions to be uploaded to the station computer real time. I also integrated the Octopus ticket machines to the station computer using Sun RPC's. I also wrote some CGI scripts using ESQL-C to interface into a Oracle database.

I was out in Hong Kong for nearly two months testing the systems. I was responsible for carrying out integration tests between the station computer and the ticket machines at Tsuen Wan railway terminal. Below are some photos that illustrate how interesting and difficult the final approach was to the runway at Kai Tak and why the new airport was so badly needed.

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