25 June 2002
KCRC wins bid for Sha Tin to Central Link
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) today welcomed the Government’s announcement that it had won the bid to build and operate the Sha Tin to Central Link (SCL).
The Corporation submitted its proposal for the project in July 2001 in competition with the MTR Corporation Limited.
Welcoming the decision, the Chairman of the KCRC, Mr Michael Tien, said, "This is great news for the Corporation and, more importantly, for commuters who will be able to travel between Hong Kong Island and the New Territories on one railway network."
The 17.1 km new line will run from Tai Wai to Central West and will have 10 stations.
It will be combined with Ma On Shan Rail, allowing passengers from Ma On Shan to travel to and from Central without interchange. Passengers currently travelling on East Rail will be able to interchange with the new line either at Tai Wai or Hung Hom.
"This will mean considerable savings for the commuting public in the New Territories, both in terms of time and money," said Mr Tien.
KCRC will operate the SCL as a part of the existing East Rail network, with the same management team. "Resources such as maintenance and control facilities will be shared resulting in cost savings," said Mr K Y Yeung, Chief Executive Officer of the KCRC.
KCRC’s proposal includes a major reconfiguration of Hung Hom Station to allow for significant increase in traffic volume. The new configuration will allow the future West Rail and Kowloon Southern Link (KSL) passengers to interconnect with East Rail cross-platform. Convenient interchanges will also be provided with the Sha Tin to Central Link, as well as intercity lines to the Mainland.
"Hung Hom will become a Mass Transportation Centre for Hong Kong commuters, and also for rail traffic to the Mainland," said Mr Yeung. "Rail passengers from the Mainland will be able to get to Hong Kong Island easily by changing to the SCL at Hung Hom," he said.
Civil works were planned to begin in 2004 following detailed studies on environmental impact and detailed design. The project was originally planned to be completed in 2008, but the fact that the Government’s award has been delayed by six months will affect these dates. The Corporation will review the construction programme with the Government.
The project will provide approximately 12,000 job opportunities. When completed, commuters will be able to travel from Sha Tin to Central in 22 minutes.
"We expect that most of the team currently working on West Rail will be able to continue working with KCRC on the SCL," he said.
The total cost of the project is estimated to be HK$31 billion (money of the day). Mr Yeung said, "The project will be financed by internal resources and new debt, and KCRC will not require any new equity injections from the Government."
He added that West Rail and the Ma On Shan Rail will be operational by 2003-2004 and cash generated by the two new lines will also contribute to the financing of the SCL and KSL projects.
The Corporation will be working together with the Government over the next few months to agree on the final details of the project.