The South Island Line (East) is a proposed 7km-long medium capacity railway line that will connect the southern district of Hong Kong at South Horizons to the urban centre at Admiralty Station. The line will be owned and operated by MTR Corporation.
Estimated to cost $1.28bn, construction of the project is scheduled to start in 2011 and be completed by 2015. It is currently in the final design stage and is in the procurement process for the Admiralty and Wong Chuk Hang section.
The scheme was gazetted under the Railways Ordinance in July 2009 and was amended in June 2010 after public consultation.
The project will reduce traffic congestion at Aberdeen tunnel and reduce travel time between South Horizon and Admiralty to 10 minutes which is otherwise 25-30 minutes on road. It will also promote tourism and boost economic activity in the region by creating local jobs and enhancing property development.
South Island project
The South Island Line (East) was originally proposed in 2000 by the Second Railway Development Study (RDS-2). It aimed to provide a link from Wah Fu and Ap Lei Chau in the Southern district to the centre. The project, however, was not considered as it was financially unviable.
The route alignment was revised and resubmitted by MTR in 2002. It was a semi circular line starting from the University and ending at Wan Chai, passing through the stations at Cyberport, Wah Fu, South Horizons, Lei Tung, Wong Chuk Hang, Ocean Park and Happy Valley.
The project route was revised twice by the Transport Council in 2003 and 2004 in order to make the project more cost effective. The current proposed route was submitted by the council in 2005.
The South Island Line (East) will be built within tunnels and viaducts. It will run inside the tunnel from Admiralty to the Nam Fung Road of Aberdeen, before passing through the viaduct to the stations on the route.
Atkins China is carrying out the detailed design of the stations at Wong Chuk Hang and Ocean Park in addition to the design of viaducts that will be constructed above ground at the stations.
The project will facilitate transport of 20,000 passengers an hour per direction compared to 50,000 passengers on the existing MTR system.
Lines and routes
The line will start at South Horizons and end at Admiralty Station. It will pass through stations at Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang and Lei Tung.
Admiralty is an interchange MTR station.
Underground stations will be built at South Horizons, Lei Tung and Admiralty while at-grade stations will be built at Ocean Park and Wong Chuk Hang.
The stations will have short platforms compared to the existing MTR stations. The platforms on the South Island Line (East) will measure 120m in length and 15.5m in width while the existing MTR stations have platforms 260m-long and 20.5m wide.
The route will be underground except at Aberdeen Tunnel toll Plaza and Ap Lei Chau which will be on viaduct.
The viaducts will have slender and rounded columns. Adequate space will be provided for landscape. The façade will be painted with harmonious colours to gel with the surroundings.
A new depot will be constructed at the ex-Wong Chuk Hang site to provide stabling and maintenance facilities for the trains operating on the new line. The track will be sunken and fully enclosed below the ground to control noise during maintenance work in the depot.
The new Wong Chuk Hang station will feature an additional 12,000m² of open space to provide landscape above the Staunton Creek Nullah. A section of the Nullah will be decked over. The Heung Yip Road will be widened to provide a public transport interchange between the road and rail beneath the station. The open space also includes 2,000m² of pet space and a 2km-long viaduct.
Two new platforms will be constructed at Admiralty Station below the eastern end to provide convenient interchange facilities to passengers travelling between the MTR lines.
All the stations will have two or more entrances.
Trains with three/four cars, measuring 60m-long, will operate the route with headway of two to four minutes. The trains will be electric powered.
As major part of the route is underground in the rocks, land will be excavated through the drill and blast method or by mechanical means wherever feasible. Cut and cover methods will be used for shallow excavations.
Temporary barging facilities will be constructed at the Western District Public Cargo Working Area, Lee Nam Road and Telegraph Bay to handle the excavated material.
A temporary magazine site will also be constructed to store the explosives. These store rooms will have a separate entrance and exit to ensure high safety levels.