Shatin to Central Link – Bringing Hong Kong’s railway connectivity to a new level

Hong Kong

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With the commencement of the East Rail Line cross-harbour extension, passengers in the New Territories in the north of the city will now enjoy convenient, direct access to Hong Kong Island in the south.

The Shatin to Central Link (SCL) in Hong Kong comprises a 17km metro railway with 6 new stations and 3 upgraded interchanges stations. The alignment is split with an 11km route from Shatin through the populated East Kowloon area and a 6km route which includes an immersed section crossing below Victoria Harbour to the district of Causeway Bay and the Admiralty business area.

As part of the SCL strategic railway line, the East Rail Line cross-harbour extension commenced service in May 2022, marking an important milestone for the city’s celebrated railway network. Working with public transport network operator MTR and other stakeholders, we served as design consultants for the railway extension.

Realizing the tunnels that connect the city

In this monumental project, we worked on the preliminary design and subsequently detailed design of this railway extension from Hung Hom to Admiralty, including the 1.7 km-long cross-harbour section of the SCL comprising the 1.4 km-long Immersed Tunnel and Cut-and-Cover Tunnel, and the associated ventilation building. All the immersed tube tunnel elements were pre-fabricated in a casting yard at Shek O and then towed to Victoria Harbour for installation.

We also teamed with Dragages-Bouygues Joint Venture for the detailed design of tunnels’ structures between Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter and Admiralty, constructed using two tunnel boring machines through soft, mixed and hard rock ground conditions along the tunnel alignment. With construction taking place entirely underground, it minimized the impact to the environment and community. It was one of the most challenging sections of the SCL development as construction works had to be undertaken beneath a reclaimed area with existing structures and operating railway lines in close proximity to the tunnelling works. Our design responsibility included underpinning works for the existing structures such as vehicular viaducts and pedestrian bridges.

Bringing the difference to life for everyone

With the cross-harbour extension, the century-old East Rail Line now extends from the New Territories in the north to Hong Kong Island in the south, providing millions of passengers with a convenient, efficient and environmentally friendly mode of transportation to get around the city. The journey from Sheung Shui, the second-most northern station on the line, to Admiralty, the final station, takes only about 40 minutes to complete, when it used to require 55 minutes with multiple interchanges. The new cross-harbour extension also includes the opening of the Exhibition Centre Station, bringing the number of stations on the line to 16, as well as extensions of the existing Admiralty and Hung Hom stations.

Awards

  • Tunnelling Project of the Year (up to US$500m), New Civil Engineer Tunneling Awards, 2020
  • Design for Safety Award, The Lighthouse Club Hong Kong, 2019
  • Designer Innovation of the Year, New Civil Engineer Tunneling Awards, 2017