11 August 2006
Kowloon Southern Link's Tunnel Boring Machine ready to start works
 
The 80-meter tunnel boring machine (TBM) adopted for the Kowloon Southern Link (KSL) is geared up to start excavation works at a work site next to Canton Road in Jordon.
This state of the art TBM weighs about 800 tonnes and is over 8 metre in diameter. In size, it is larger than the fuselage of a Boeing 747, and in weight it is twice of this jumbo jetliner. KSL is the first railway project to adopt this slurry type of TBM in Hong Kong.
Designed in Germany to the latest European codes of practice for safety in tunnelling, the TBM has its parts manufactured in Germany and China. After its assembly in Guangzhou, the huge machine was dissembled into 24 parts for barging to Hong Kong.
The TBM is now undergoing final testing before it starts excavation along Canton Road and Salisbury Road in Tsim Sha Tsui.
The TBM has the advantage over the conventional cut-and-cover method in that tunnelling will be done underground, minimizing the impact on road traffic. The TBM will be launched at a vertical shaft within the site of West Kowloon Station at the corner of Canton Road and Austin Road with the retrieval shaft located in front of Sheraton Hotel at Salisbury Road.
As above ground works will be minimal, it is possible to maintain at least three eastbound and three westbound lanes of Salisbury Road, and two lanes of Canton Road throughout the construction period.
The TBM drive will commence later this month for completion in January 2008.
KSL will link up East Rail and West Rail via the existing Tsim Sha Tsui Station and Nam Cheong Station. Upon completion in 2009, the HK$8.3 billion KSL will provide Northwest New Territories residents a direct access to Tsim Sha Tsui, cutting the journey time from Tin Shui Wai to 30 minutes.