Transporting Hong Kong

by Ian M. Thoms, Dir.; West Rail, Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp., Hong Kong,


Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 2001, Vol. 71, Issue 2, Pg. 58-61


Document Type: Feature article

Abstract: In response to a mobile, rapidly growing population, Hong Kong's Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation is constructing West Rail, a HK$51.7 billion (U.S.$6.7 billion), 30.5 km rail system. West Rail is the largest infrastructure project now being undertaken in Hong Kong. Construction, which began in 1998, includes nine stations, a 32.5 ha depot, and a headquarters building. West Rail is planned to link with existing Hong Kong railway systems—including MTR, East Rail, and an existing light-rail system—to form a more integrated mass transit network. More than 90% of the West Rail line is either on viaduct or in tunnels. The line crosses a 13.4 km main viaduct, which will be the longest in Hong Kong, including six elevated stations. Tunnels account for 14.7 km of the line, and the remaining 2.4 km are at grade. Most of the tunnels will be built using drill-and-blast tunneling methods, but for one 1.8 km tunnel segment an earth-pressure-balanced tunnel-boring machine will be used—the first time a machine of this type has been used in Hong Kong. The overall design includes a number of measures to minimize noise to comply with Hong Kong's strict noise control ordinance. West Rail is expected to be in operation by 2004.

Subject Headings: Construction equipment | Construction methods | Hong Kong | Noise pollution | Rail transportation | Tunnels | Viaducts

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