Shatin to Central Link (SCL) is a 17km-long railway line expansion undertaken by MTR Corporation in Kowloon and Hong Kong Island. The project involves stretching the line from Tai Wai to Hung Hom and Hung Hom to Admiralty sections, linking a number of existing railway lines passing through several districts in Hong Kong.

The expansion will link up East West corridor to the existing Ma On Shan line (MOL) with the West Rail line (WRL), while the North South corridor will extend the East Rail line to Hong Kong Island. It will also include construction of ten stations, of which six will be interchange stations.

The SCL is expected to reduce the travel time significantly across East Kowloon, New Territories East and Hong Kong Island, upon completion. More than one million passenger trips per day are expected to be made on the SCL by 2021. The new line is also expected to create about HK$4.1bn ($0.52m) worth of transport benefits in a year.

"The project is expected to create jobs for more than 15,000 people during the construction phase."

The project is expected to create jobs for more than 15,000 people during the construction phase.

Shatin to Central Link project background

The Shatin to Central Link (SCL) was initially recommended in the Railway Development Strategy 2000. The executive council gave approval to initiate the process for further planning and design of the SCL in March 2008. MTR Corporation and the government have conducted public consultations for the design and construction of the SCL.

The environmental impact assessment (EIA) report on the construction and operation of the SCL was approved by the environmental protection department in February 2012. The SCL project was authorised by chief executive in council in March 2012, and subsequently the funding for the project was endorsed by the finance committee of the legislative council in May 2012.

SCL project construction and infrastructure details

Ground breaking for the Shatin to Central Link (SCL) project was held in June 2012. The first phase of construction including the Tai Wai to Hung Hom section is expected to be completed by 2018, whereas the second phase, which will include construction of Hung Hom to Admiralty section, is expected to be completed by 2020. The second phase will involve interface with other infrastructure projects, such as Wan Chai Development Phase II and Central-Wan Chai Bypass.

The construction works at Shatin section included reprovisioning of the three-storey animal management centre and single-storey Plant Quarantine station in November 2013 in order to facilitate the construction of the new Hin Keng station of the SCL.

The construction works at Kowloon City section include building Kai Tak, To Kwa Wan and Ma Tau Wai stations, and construction of rail tunnels and related railway facilities.

The Kai Tak, To Kwa Wan, Ma Tau Wai and Exhibition stations will be underground, while the Hin Keng station will be elevated.

Tunnelling and construction methods

The SCL line crosses developed urban areas, diverse topography, and geology necessitating the use of multiple construction methods. The project involves excavation for rail tunnels, stations, and pedestrian subways at some places by adopting tunnel boring machines (TBMs), drill and blast, cut and cover, and immersed tube tunnel methods.

Seven TBMs will be used for the construction of four tunnels in Kowloon and three tunnels in Hong Kong Island. The first tunnelling work is expected to start between Ma Chai Hang and Diamond Hill station section in the second quarter of 2014. The TBMs will be designed to perform diverse tunnelling works using less work area.

The tunnelling in underground rocky sections located between Hin Keng and Ma Chai Hang playground, and overrun tunnel from the south of Admiralty station will be completed by using the drill and blast method of construction.

All other stations on the SCL line except the Hin Keng station will be constructed using cut and cover method.

"A 1.3km SCL cross-harbour tunnel across Victoria Harbour by sea will include immersed tube tunnel method of construction."

A 1.3km SCL cross-harbour tunnel across Victoria Harbour by sea will include immersed tube tunnel method of construction. The tunnel will be constructed with precast immersed tube units of 150m length each.

Rolling stock for the Shatin to Central Link (SCL)

Changchun Railway Vehicles was contracted to supply new rolling stock for SCL Phase I, while Hyundai Rotem Company will provide new vehicles SCL Phase II.

MTR Corporation awarded two major rolling stock contracts in January 2014 for the purchase of new train cars and modifications to the existing train cars to be operated on East West Corridor of the SCL.

Changchun Railway Vehicles was awarded HK$1,140m ($147m) worth first contract for the design, supply, manufacture, testing and commissioning of 14 new eight-car trains. The trains are expected to be handed over for testing and commissioning by 2017 and will be operational by 2018.

Itochu-Kinki Sharyo-Kawasaki Consortium received a second major contract worth HK$1,180m ($152.16m) for the design, manufacture, delivery, testing and commissioning of 36 new train cars. The scope of the contract also includes providing modification as well as reconfiguration of 348 train cars from the existing West Rail line, East Rail line and Ma On Shan line.

Itochu-Kinki Sharyo-Kawasaki Consortium was also contracted to provide rolling stock modification and new train cars for SCL phase 1.

Signalling and communications

Thales Transport & Security (Hong Kong) was contracted to provide signalling system for SCL Phase I and signalling system modification for MOL and WRL, and Siemens won the contract to provide main control systems and communications systems for SCL Phase I, and signalling system for SCL Phase II.

Motorola Solutions Asia Pacific will provide TETRA communication system for SCL Phases I and II. Shun Hing Systems Integration was awarded a contract to provide communications system modification for Hung Hom reprovisioning.

Contractors involved with the expansion

Sun Fook Kong joint venture was selected to provide modification of Ma On Shan Line. Penta-Ocean Construction was contracted to build the Hin Keng station and approach structures as well as a new International mail centre. VINCI Construction Grands Projects were contracted for building the Hin Keng to Diamond Hill tunnels and Fung Tak Public Transport Interchange.

Sembawang Leader joint venture was selected to provide Diamond Hill station extension. Chun Wo-SELI joint venture was contracted to build the Diamond Hill to Kai Tak tunnels, while Kaden-Chun Wo joint venture was selected to construct the Kai Tak station and associated tunnels.

Other contractors selected for the construction of the SCL line include Concentric-Hong Kong River joint venture to provide Kai Tak Barging point facilities, and Samsung-Hsin Chong joint venture for the construction of stations and tunnels of Kowloon City section. The construction of Hung Hom North approach tunnels was awarded to Gammon-Kaden SCL 1111 joint venture, and the Hung Hom station and stabling sidings construction was contracted to Leighton Contractors (Asia).

The reprovisioning works of NTS animal management centre and Shatin Plant Quarantine station was awarded to Kaden-Leader joint venture. The construction contract for pedestrian links and Pat Heung Depot modification works at Tsz Wan Shan was awarded to Paul Y Construction Company.

The contract for track work and overhead line modification works at Lo Wu and Pat Heung Depot was awarded to Chun Wo-Henryvicy-GTECH joint venture. The contract for track work and overhead lines, as well as EAL signalling system modification for SCL Phase I was awarded to Alstom Hong Kong. Chun Wo Construction and Engineering was contracted to provide the platform modification and associated works at East Rail line, and Sun Fook Kong Construction was awarded a contract to provide police sports and recreation club enhancement works.

Kaden-Leader joint venture was awarded a contract for reprovisioning of Harbour Road Sports Centre and Wan Chai swimming pool. Hsin Chong Construction was contracted for SCL-Advance works for the North South Line (NSL).

Gilgen Door Systems was contracted to provide platform screen doors for SCL Phase I and Automatic Platform Gates (APG) retrofit for MOL. GTECH-KUM SHING joint venture provides power supply system and trackside auxiliaries for SCL Phase I. Otis Elevator Company (HK) will provide lifts for SCL Phase I and ThyssenKrupp Elevator (HK) won the contract to provide escalators for SCL Phase I.

Gammon E&M was contracted to provide building services for Diamond Hill and Hin Keng stations, Ma Chai Hang ventilation building, and Fung Tak Emergency access. Shinryo Corporation was contracted to provide building services for Hung Hom station and Hung Hom stabling sidings. Leighton M&E was contracted to provide building services for Kai Tak and To Kwa Wan stations, and ancillary building.

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