9 July 2001
KCR West Rail tunnel excavation works all complete
 
Construction of the KCR West Rail reached a major milestone today (Monday) as excavation works for all 11.5 km of tunnels were completed, months ahead of programme.
Almost half of the 30.5 km West Rail alignment is inside tunnels. The completion of excavation works for the entire tunnel section is of great significance to the construction of West Rail as it will facilitate the commencement of the installation work of other railway systems contracts, including trackwork, telecommunications systems, train control and signalling, as well as traction power supply and overhead line.
Today saw the breakthrough of the second bore of the 1.78-km Tsing Tsuen Tunnel by the gigantic Tunnel Boring Machine, "Mulan", which is the largest tunneling boring machine ever used in Hong Kong.
The 100 metre-long TBM "Mulan", commenced operation in April last year and completed the first bore of the tunnel in December 2000. With the experience gained in the first bore, "Mulan" completed the second bore in less than five months, advancing at an average daily rate of 12.6 metres.
Speaking at the breakthrough ceremony today, KCRC Senior Director, Capital Projects, Mr James Blake, said, "What is even more remarkable is that this major tunnel has been completed without having caused any disturbance to nearby residents or any major disruption to road traffic. By any civil engineering and environmental protection standard, this is a job well done."
Mr Blake also commended the concerted efforts of the contractor, the government departments and KCRC staff. "With our continued and combined efforts, I am confident that we will deliver a world-class railway to the people of Hong Kong in 2003," he said.
The 3.6 km-long Kwai Tsing Tunnels comprise three sections: 1.7 km Ha Kwai Chung Tunnel, 1.78 km Tsing Tsuen Tunnel and 120 m Tsing Tsuen Cut-and-Cover Tunnel. The contract was awarded to Dragages-Zen Pacific Joint Venture in October 1998 with a contract sum of HK$1.9 billion.
 
Mission completed: the giant tunnel boring machine (TBM), "Mulan", breaks through the last part of the second bore of Tsing Tsuen Tunnel.
 
The 100 metre-long tunnel boring machine (TBM), "Mulan", was fabricated in Shanghai and was handed over to KCRC in February 2000.