Following receipt of Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC)'s proposal to implement the Ma On Shan to Tai Wai Rail Link and KCR Extension to Tsim Sha Tsui on 29 June 1998, the Executive Council has decided to ask KCRC to proceed with detailed planning and design of the two projects with a view to a project agreement being drawn up in 1999. This paper summarises the major features of KCRC's proposal to implement the two projects. The route map is at Annex A. At Annex B is a summary of the key operating characteristics of the two projects.


2. East Rail is to be extended about 1.5 km southwards from the present Hung Hom inter-city and urban railway terminus to a new urban commuter station at Tsim Sha Tsui. The Extension runs underground below Salisbury Road, before curving away to the new station which is located below the Wing On Plaza and the Middle Road children's playground. From here the station over-run tracks continue in tunnels across Nathan Road and then run along Middle Road, until reaching the end of the extension at Canton Road.

3. The new station and most of the tunneling work are expected to be constructed from ground levels, using "cut and cover" techniques below a temporary deck. This will be similar to the construction of the original Mass Transit Railway (MTR) tunnels below Nathan Road. All statutory environmental mitigation and traffic management measures will be in place before construction commences.

4. The KCR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station will be planned and designed to integrate with adjacent properties, and will be connected by pedestrian subways with the MTR Tsim Sha Tsui Station, New World Centre, the Salisbury Road underground shopping mall, and new developments as far as possible. The new station will become a focus for pedestrian access throughout the neighbouring area, and a major hub for rail commuters.


5. The railway serves the increasing population in the Ma On Shan area, a population that is forecast to increase by about 50% by 2011. The stations are located for the most part within easy walking distance of the residential communities which they serve.

6. East Rail southbound trains arriving at Tai Wai station will provide adequate capacity for boarding passengers, with direct cross platform transfer from the Ma On Shan line arriving trains. East Rail to the Ma On Shan Rail likewise will be a direct and convenient passenger interchange.

7. The Ma On Shan Rail will be on viaduct for most of its length, with stations at Tai Wai, Sha Tin Tau, Sha Kok Street, City One, Shek Mun, Chevalier Garden, Heng On, and Ma On Shan before ending at Lee On. Between Shek Mun and Chevalier Garden, the railway runs at ground level, along the centre-divide of the dual-carriage highway.

8. Seven out of nine stations will use 'island' platforms, which avoids the need for passengers to identify their direction of travel until they arrive at platform level. Grouping escalators together on the station centre line to serve a single platform provides operating advantage and cost savings compared with separate banks of escalators to platforms either side of a station. Physical constraints at Sha Tin Tau Station make it necessary to adopt side platforms, and Tai Wai Station likewise will use side platforms to suit the East Rail interchange arrangements. Station platforms will be covered to protect waiting as well as boarding and alighting passengers during inclement weather.

9. Under a closed ticketing system, passengers arriving at the ground level station concourse will pass through ticket gates before ascending by escalator or stairs to the platform above. Octopus card users will enjoy the same passenger convenience, and the train cars will provide a single class high standard of seating and ample space for standing passengers.

10. The trains will initially operate in a four-car configuration, with a train every 2 ? minutes during peak hours. This frequency will increase to meet increasing demand, reducing the timing between trains to less than 2 minutes. More capacity will be provided by using longer trains, up to 8 cars, if necessary.

11. The maintenance depot at Tai Wai will house a full range of facilities to keep the trains in tip top condition. The depot will be sited on Government land, which will be cleared for construction works to commence in early 2000. The whole of the railway will be built and operated to the same world-class standards that East Rail has already achieved. PASSENGER FLOW AT TAI WAI

12. The Ma On Shan Rail is designed for the maximum forecast passenger flows through the interchange with East Rail at Tai Wai Station, especially peak hour flows. The existing station at Tai Wai will be expanded, and the East Rail train services will be fully co-ordinated with the Ma On Shan Rail services, to ensure sufficient space available on arriving trains and safe platform conditions as train passengers board and alight. East Rail is now undergoing a major improvement programme, and by the year 2000, the carrying capacity will be increased by 35%, in time for the Ma On Shan Rail to commence operations in 2004. The improvements include -

  1. Higher train frequency - Under the upgraded signalling system, Automatic Train Protection will be in place enabling East Rail to operate with increasing train frequency in each direction, up to 24 trains an hour, increasing passenger carrying capacity by 20%, with no reduction in passenger comfort standards.

  2. Larger carrying capacity - The current train refurbishment works provide more doors and re-configure the seats which together can increase the capacity by 15% with no reduction in passenger comfort standards. The walk-through configuration between train cars also allows passengers to move into the less crowded parts of a train.

  3. More trains during peak hours - During the morning peak hours, additional Kowloon-bound trains starting from Fo Tan station will be run, providing ample space when they arrive at the Tai Wai interchange. Similar arrangements if needed will be adopted at other times of peak flow.


13. A full Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) will be conducted, and the EIA report submitted for endorsement by the Advisory Committee for the Environment, in accordance with the EIA Ordinance.

14. Preliminary environmental studies have shown that the environmental impacts during the construction stage, and subsequently during railway operations, can be kept within proper limits by appropriate mitigation measures. During construction, this will include minimising noise at source, including the use of temporary noise barriers. Design of the railway will take all relevant noise sources into account, and measures will be taken to contain noise within the permanent structure such that outside noise levels do not exceed those permitted by the Noise Control Ordinance.

15. Throughout the construction phase, statutory environmental standards will be applied to all construction contracts, and the relevant environmental permit conditions governing the construction of the railway will be strictly observed.


16. The Corporation and Government will conduct the necessary consultation with the municipal councils, district boards and other interested parties on KCRC's proposal, starting in November. IMPLEMENTATION AND PROGRAMME

17. The proposed programme for the design and construction phase is shown as Annex C. The extension from East Rail to Tsim Sha Tsui is targeted to be operational for passenger services ahead of the Ma On Shan Rail.

18. Traffic impact studies will be conducted and temporary measures to accommodate traffic flows will be in place, before major construction works begin. During the construction phase it would be necessary to close the Middle Road Playground and Wing On Gardens, and the works will also affect the southern face of Signal Hill. When the works are complete, reinstatement to an approved design would follow. The design which is now envisaged provides a series of landscaped ramps and public amenities to improve the entire area. Construction of an underpass at the junction of Salisbury and Chatham Roads together with associated pedestrian subways will take place concurrently with construction of the new railway works.

19. Work sites for the construction of the Ma On Shan Rail viaduct and stations will be established at Tai Wai, Shek Mun and Lee On. The work site at Tai Wai will also be used for construction of the maintenance depot. A test track at the depot will be used for acceptance testing, the new trains and control systems, prior to full-scale trial runs on the completed track line. Following testing and commissioning of all railway systems, there will be a period of trial service running to ensure reliability of operations prior to opening for passenger services.


20. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $14.22 billion (in 1998 prices) and Government has agreed in principle to fund the combined project principally by equity.


21. Property development sites have been identified along the alignment of the Ma On Shan Rail, including office potential adjacent to the KCR East Tsim Sha Tsui Station. In the main these developments will support the Government's long-term housing policy, as well as potential patronage from a stable population living and working along the railway.

22. Five station sites have been identified with property development potential for housing and commercial development, located at Tai Wai, Sha Tin Tau, Shek Mun, Heng On and Lee On, which together may yield 17,000 residential units with related commercial activities.

Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation
16 October 1998

Annex B

I. Key statistics of East Tsim Sha Tsui Extension

Alignment length1,500m
Journey time1.5 minutes
Maximum train speed80 km per hour
Average train speed50 km per hour
Line capacity & train frequency 1,500msame as East Rail

II. Key statistics of Ma On Shan Rail

Alignment length11.4 km
Journey time15 minutes
Number of stations9
Maximum train speed100 km per hour
Average train speed40 km per hour
Line capacity33 trains per hour
Initial train frequency10 trains per hour (off peak)
24 trains per hour (peak)
Train size4 cars
Maximum passengers per car313