1. When will the SCL be completed?
The construction of “Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section” commenced in mid of 2012. Due to the archaeological survey and relics preservation at To Kwa Wan Station, there is at least 11 months delay in the Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section, The projects team and relevant government departments would try its best endeavor to recover some of the delay, with a view to commissioning the “Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section” in 2019 as far as possible.
The works of the Hong Kong Island section of the SCL are required to have coordination with other infrastructure projects such as Wan Chai Development Phase II and Central-Wan Chai Bypass, which will further complicate the construction of SCL and impose challenges on the works programme. The handover date for the associated critical site areas has a delay of 6 months as compared with the original programme. Besides, enabling works will need to be carried out to allow flexibility for the topside development of the Exhibition Station. Therefore, the commissioning date will very likely be deferred to 2021.
2. How much will the construction of the SCL cost?
Following the substantial completion of the detailed design of the SCL by the Corporation, the Government appointed an Independent Consultant (IC) to scrutinize the estimated construction cost of the SCL based on the detailed design to ensure the reasonableness of the cost estimate. The IC has now completed the independent assessment. After careful cost control, including the effort in enhancing and streamlining the railway design at the design stage, the total construction cost of the entire SCL project is estimated to be about $64.9 billion (in September 2011 prices). The Finance Committee of the Legislative Council endorsed the funding of the SCL project on 11 May 2012.
Could we make use of the existing depot facilities instead of building the stabling sidings in other districts?
As the existing Pat Heung Depot is far away from stations along the SCL Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section while Tai Wai Depot only has enough room to accommodate the Ma On Shan Line trains, neither of these two depots will be able to meet the train deployment requirement for the SCL during the morning peak hours.
To make better use of land resources and existing facilities, the former freight yard in Hung Hom will be modified as stabling sidings for cleaning and inspection for SCL trains.
Stabling sidings was once proposed at the site of the former Tai Hom Village in Wong Tai Sin, what is the latest development for that land piece?
To better utilize the land resources and the existing freight facilities, the Corporation has conducted the feasibility of using the former freight yard in Hung Hom to accommodate the train stabling requirement for the SCL. For the site of the former Tai Hom Village, the development is not part of the SCL project. The Planning Department has zoned the site as a Comprehensive Development Area and will consult the District Council and local community in due course.
The Planning Department is reviewing the proposed land use of the stabling sidings site, and will consult the District Council and local community upon completion of the planning review.
Why was the original alignment for the Kowloon City section revised to locate To Kwa Wan Station and Ma Tau Wai Station along Ma Tau Wai Road instead of To Kwa Wan Road?
Railway as a mass transit system should serve the most densely populated areas as far as possible in order to maximize its benefits. During consultations on the Kowloon City section of the SCL in 2009, the Corporation proposed changing the alignment to run from Kai Tak Station at the Kai Tak New Development Area, along Ma Tau Chung Road and Ma Tau Wai Road, with To Kwa Wan Station located to the east of Ma Tau Chung Road and Ma Tau Wai Station between Lok Shan Road and Chi Kiang Street. The revised alignment will enable the railway line to serve more people in To Kwa Wan, Kowloon City and Kai Tai by putting most of the residential buildings, schools, offices and factories near the stations.
In response to feedback on the revised alignment received in 2009, we have re-examined the feasibility of other alignment options, including threading the SCL through Pau Chung Street, Tam Kung Road, Ha Heung Road, and Lun Cheung Street. However, none of these roads are wide enough to accommodate an MTR station; if a station were to be built along these streets, we would have to resume and demolish a large number of private buildings. One public suggestion was for the East Kowloon section to be built “in the middle”, but such an alignment is constrained by existing road structures, i.e. the foundations of the East Kowloon Corridor and the Kai Tak Tunnel, and there is no suitable location for the railway tunnel or station.
We understand the concerns of some local residents over the revised railway alignment. To accommodate the need of passengers who are located farther away from the SCL stations, the Government will review feeder arrangements with other modes of public transport, similar to the arrangements in other districts. The Transport Department will conduct district consultations accordingly.
As most of the tunnels and stations of SCL passes underground, will the construction works of SCL bring nuisance to daily life of the residents?
As SCL traverses so many districts, including some of the most densely developed urban areas in Hong Kong, it is inevitable that the railway line will pass under some private lots, thus requiring the resumption of their underground strata. Nevertheless, in designing the SCL alignment, every effort has been made to reduce the need for resumption of land, underground strata or buildings so as to minimize the effects on local residents.
The MTR Corporation is well experienced in building underground railway stations and tunnels in densely populated areas in Hong Kong, and there has been no incident affecting building safety. Measures will be taken during the design and construction stages, as well as the operating stage so as to ensure that the design and construction would comply with the standards stipulated under related regulations, and the impact of railway construction works on the existing buildings are kept to a minimum with no adverse effects on their structural safety and integrity.
Why is there a need to resume the underground stratum of certain buildings in order to construct the SCL?
Building new railway in developed and densely populated urban areas like Hong Kong is a very challenging task. Notwithstanding this, the Corporation endeavor to investigate and design the alignment so as to minimize the effects on local residents. The tunnels of SCL is proposed to best making use of the underground of existing roads and locate within rock stratum, so as to avoid resumption of private lands and buildings. Besides, the design of tunnels has to compile with the operation standard, which including the slope and curvature of tunnels, are also under strict requirements.
The proposed alignment balances various related factors and is therefore preferred, which mainly passes underneath the existing roads and only resumption of relevant part of some private lots are required. Since that tunnel section will be fully within rock stratum with sufficient rock cover to tunnel structure which is self-supporting, so the construction of the SCL will not pose any adverse impact on the structural safety of the buildings along the alignment.
Why is there a need to have Hin Keng Station?
Hin Keng Station will be located at the junction of Che Kung Miu Road and Hin Keng Street. The provision of Hin Keng Station will facilitate access to the recreational facilities in Hin Keng area, including the Hin Tin Playground, Hin Tin Swimming Pool, Hin Keng Shopping Centre, Tin Keng Sports Centre and the schools nearby. It will also relieve congestion at Tai Wai Station and provide fast and reliable railway service to the residents in the area.
The East Rail Line (EAL) is already heavily congested. Will the reduction in train configuration from 12 cars to 9 cars aggravate the congestion?
According to the current planning, the Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section of the SCL will be completed prior to the Hung Hom to Admiralty Section to provide a new railway line between the New Territories and urban districts. It is estimated that over 20% of the south-bound passengers from the New Territories will then be diverted to the "East West Corridor" formed by the Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section of the SCL, relieving the congestion of the EAL during peak hours.
The "North South Corridor" formed by the extension of the EAL across the harbour will run in 9-car train configuration instead of 12-car configuration due to the geographical constraints on Hong Kong Island. To increase the carrying capacity, the signalling system of the "North South Corridor" will be enhanced. The service frequency during peak hours will be increased from around 20 trains per hour to around 27 trains per hour. This amounts to 243 cars per hour, offering a carrying capacity similar to the current service level.
Upon the full completion of the SCL, the overall railway carrying capacity between North New Territories/ South New Territories and Kowloon will be significantly increased. The "East West Corridor" will run in 8-car train configuration and provide around 20 trains per hour, offering a maximum carrying capacity of 160 cars per hour. In addition to the 243 cars per hour offered by the "North South Corridor", the carrying capacity will reach 403 cars per hour. All this means a significant increase of 163 cars compared with the 240 cars per hour currently offered by the EAL service.
The current design capacity of the SCL has taken into consideration the increased passenger demand due to the annual 1.5% to 1.8% population growth along the EAL and Ma On Shan Line from 2021, as well as the increase in the number of cross-boundary passengers from the Mainland.
What are the arrangements for vessels in Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter (CBTS) that are affected by the SCL?
Some of the construction works for the SCL and CWB will be carried out in CBTS simultaneously. However, due to SCL's alignment and limited working space inside the typhoon shelter, construction of a section of the SCL tunnels in CBTS cannot commence until CWB is nearly completed. This part of the works will commence shortly after CWB's completion and is expected to be finished in about 18 months. The Corporation and the Government are trying the best to allow vessels to be moved back to CBTS after the completion of CWB.
The Government has always emphasized consultations through District Council meetings, meetings with residents, roving exhibitions as well as project highlights and information on the web. Will you consider using more innovative consultation methods in the future, so that more people can understand the importance of these railway facilities as well as the overall design and planning of the rail network?
The Corporation has extensive experience in the planning and construction of railway works. We also understand the community's concern over the impact of these works. In order to improve the consultation process, the Corporation and the Government have reviewed past consultations with a view towards strengthening communication with the public via a variety of channels:
- Provide simpler, more concise information illustrated with images and videos to make it easier for members of the public to understand the project's details and the issues that concern them most;
- Strengthen communication with the community through district introductory talks, exhibitions and websites apart from formal meetings so that the relevant information is available for reference at all times;
- Systematically organise all information related to the project's planning and consultations in a user-friendly format
Why ventilation facilities are required for an underground railway system? Will it affect the nearby residents?
Ventilation facilities are indispensable railway system similar to the window of a building, ventilation facilities bring fresh air to the underground stations and tunnels to maintain the continual air circulation in the railway system.
Ventilation facilities do not exhaust any pollutant as it is not an air-conditioning system. In addition, MTR trains are powered by electricity and do not generate any emission. Besides, the facilities are equipped with filtration devices. Therefore, the exhaust from ventilation facilities is no different from roadside air.
How to determine the station entrance location?
Where the situation permits, station entrances would be provided at strategic locations with high passenger flows and close to the railway stations so as to provide a direct and convenient link between the stations and the street level.
Location of the proposed station entrances should have enough road space to meet the safety requirement of emergency evacuation. Possible construction impact on road traffic and pedestrian will also have to be considered.