Transport officials said on Friday that extra trains will run on the West Rail Line if it is extended south of Tuen Mun as proposed, after lawmakers expressed concern that passengers will end up "packed like sardines".
At a Legco railways subcommittee meeting, legislators sought reassurances that the line would be able to cope with an increase in passengers if it is extended some 2.4 kilometres as planned, with the terminus moving from Tuen Mun town centre to near Tuen Mun Ferry Pier.
Officials say two new stations, by the pier and where the town's swimming pool is, would serve around 110,000 nearby residents.
But legislators including the DAB's Holden Chow said the line is already very overcrowded as it is.
"Right now, we have seen that people fail to get on the trains. If there are more people getting on at Tuen Mun, how can people living in Yuen Long or Tin Shui Wai get on the trains?" Chow asked.
In response to the concerns, Highways Director Jimmy Chan said the capacity and train frequency will increase once the Tuen Ma Line, which will connect the West Rail and Ma On Shan lines, opens.
He said the number of trains per hour can be increased from 21 to 24.
"As we approach the usage of the Tuen Mun South extension, we will increase the frequency as well as the trains. By 2030, the capacity should be able to satisfy the demand," Chan added.
If approved, construction of the HK$11.4 billion extension project is expected to start in 2023 and be completed in 2030.