Vol 21 No 6 (06-2012)
Progress update of The Shatin to Central Link


Background

The Shatin to Central Link (SCL) is one of the strategic railway lines suggested in the Railway Development Strategy 2000. It will serve areas currently with no railway service and will link the existing railway lines in East Kowloon, East New Territories and Hong Kong Island. In 2008, its design and site investigation were carried out by MTR Corporation Limited (MTR) as MTR is entrusted with its planning and design. Construction of the SCL will be commenced in the second half year of 2012. It will be completed in 2018 and 2020 in phases.

Alignment

The 17km SCL is divided into 2 sections: the 11km long “Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section” and the 6km long “Hung Hom to Admiralty Section”. For “Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section”, it will extend the existing Ma On Shan Line to Hung Hom and connect the West Rail Line, forming an “East West Corridor” that will shorten the journey time between East and West Territories. The “Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section” will provide an alternative for commuters travelling through New Territories and East Kowloon. It will also alleviate the congestion from Tai Wai to Kowloon Tong section, and Kowloon Tong Station by converting Diamond Hill Station into a new interchange station. “Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section” comprises 8 stations: 3 existing stations are Hung Hom Station, Tai Wai Station and Diamond Hill Station; the 5 new stations are Hin Keng Station, Kai Tak Station, To Kwa Wan Station, Ma Tau Wai Station and Ho Man Tin Station respectively.

Another section of the SCL is the 6km long “Hung Hom to Admiralty Section”. It will link East Rail Line and Admiralty Station to form “North South Corridor”, a direct connection between Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau and Admiralty. This section will connect Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, future North Island Line, and the South Island Line (East) (SIL(E)) that opens in 2015 via Hung Hom Station, Exhibition Station and Admiralty Station.

To tie with SCL’s construction, expansion works will be carried out in 3 interchange stations, namely Diamond Hill Station, Hung Hom Station and Admiralty Station. Station area will be increased and more station facilities such as platforms and walkways will be provided.

Construction of the SCL

Most of the stations and rail tunnels of the SCL will be built underground to minimize the impact on residents throughout Hong Kong. The new stations, Kai Tak Station, To Kwa Wan Station, Ma Tau Wai Station and Exhibition Station will be underground stations while Hin Keng Station will be an elevated station. Expansion works will be implemented at the existing Hung Hom Station, Diamond Hill Station and Admiralty Station. The project also involves the construction of rail tunnels, viaducts, station walkways and stabling sidings. Construction methods adopted in each construction work will vary according to the geology and geography of the surrounding area, including drill and blast, cut and cover, tunnel boring and immersed tube tunnel.

In the SCL project, the fourth cross-harbour rail tunnel in Hong Kong will be built to link Hung Hom Station and Admiralty Station. A 1.3km long section of the tunnel will be constructed with immersed tubes across Victoria Harbour. Precast structures of the immersed tubes, with a maximum length of 150m each, will be tugged to the construction side at Victoria Harbour.

Challenge

Construction of the SCL interfaces with a number of infrastructure projects such as Kwun Tong Line Extension (KTE), Central-Wan Chai Bypass (CWB), Wan Chai Development Phase II (WDII) and the SIL(E). The SCL has entrusted protection works and advance works to the related projects to avoid repeated works and any impact on their existing or new structures and the community.

One of the advance works of the SCL is the construction of Admiralty Station and Ho Man Tin Station that the latter will be the interchange station of the KTE and the SCL. Railway facilities such as the station’s concourse and entrances will be shared by the two railway lines as the platform of the SCL will be located above that of the KTE. Advance works of the station have been entrusted to the KTE project. The current Admiralty Station will be expanded under Harcourt Garden to become the future interchange station of Island Line, Tsuen Wan Line, the future SIL(E) and the SCL. Some of the new railway facilities of the SIL(E) and the SCL will be located at the same locations or adjacent to each other, therefore the expansion works of Admiralty Station have been entrusted to the SIL(E) project.

Besides, protection works of the SCL in North Hong Kong Island have been entrusted to the WDII and the CWB projects to ensure there will be no further excavations or reclamations when the SCL project commences, thus to minimize impact on the community and the environment. The protection works have already been commenced.

Some public facilities situated at the alignment of the SCL will be demolished and re-provided in advance. Based on “reprovision before demolition”, the current facility will not be demolished until the new facility is open. One of the involved facilities is the International Mail Centre located south to Hung Hom Station. The new mail centre will be re-provided at Wang Chin Street, Kowloon Bay and its reprovision work began in July 2011. It is expected that the construction of the new mail centre will be completed in 2013.

Environmental protection

In order to minimize the environmental impact arising from the project, independent consultants had conducted environmental impact assessment study and the reports were approved by Environmental Protection Department (EPD) in February 2012. Environmental permit of the SCL project was granted by the EPD in March 2012. MTR will implement mitigative measures suggested in the reports to reduce impact on different environmental aspects: watering and cover stockpile areas to reduce dust; adopt low-noise machines and erect noise barrier to minimise noise level; and to recycle construction waste wherever possible.

Impact on the environment will also be monitored when construction commences. Monthly reports and regular monitoring data will be submitted to the EPD and made available for public viewing.

Progress and Conclusion

The advance and protection works of the SCL have been commenced, for instance, excavation work at Ho Man Tin Station, piling and excavation work at Admiralty Station and protection work at Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter. Construction of the project will be commenced in the second half year of 2012 as the Legislative Council has endorsed the funding. The SCL will provide a convenient railway service when “Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section” and “Hung Hom to Admiralty Section” open in 2018 and 2020 respectively.


Courtesy acknowledgement:
MTR Corporation Limited for providing the above photos