The Sha Tin to Central link (abbreviated SCL; Chinese: 沙中線; Cantonese Yale: Sājūngsin) is an under-construction expansion of the MTR rapid transit network in Hong Kong. Its route is divided into two sections.
The first section (Phase 1) is from Tai Wai station in the New Territories to Hung Hom station in Kowloon. The Tai Wai – Hung Hom segment will connect the Ma On Shan line and West Rail line forming the East West Corridor. Operation is scheduled for 2019.
In anticipation of the East West Corridor, the existing Kwun Tong line was extended from its previous terminus at Yau Ma Tei station to Whampoa station. This extension includes the new Ho Man Tin station to provide interchange with the East West Corridor. The Kwun Tong line extension was opened on 23 October 2016.
The second section (Phase 2) of the Sha Tin to Central Link is from Hung Hom station to Admiralty station on Hong Kong Island. The Hung Hom–Admiralty segment will be an extension of the East Rail line to form the North South Corridor. This cross-harbour extension is scheduled to be completed in 2021.
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The proposed route of the Sha Tin to Central Link roughly follows the scheme of the original East Kowloon line, which was proposed in the late 1960s but was not constructed. The Shatin to Central Link was included as one of the Priority Railway Schemes in the Hong Kong government's Railway Development Strategy 2000.:35
On 25 June 2002, the government announced that the Kowloon–Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) had won its bid against the MTR Corporation (MTRC) to build and operate the Shatin to Central Link. The route was originally planned to go from Tai Wai station to Central West station (proposed to be located under the Mid-Levels), as an extension of the then-under-construction KCR Ma On Shan Rail (now the Ma On Shan line).
The KCRC announced modifications to the proposal in 2005, with the East Kowloon portion of the line joining KCR Ma On Shan Rail at Tai Wai and KCR West Rail (now the West Rail line) at Hung Hom, with the cross-harbour portion joining KCR East Rail (now the East Rail line) at Hung Hom. Mong Kok Station (now Mong Kok East) would have been relocated, joining a new tunnel to a deeper Hung Hom station platform connecting to the cross-harbour section. Additionally, stations at Tsz Wan Shan and Whampoa Garden were removed from the proposal; the areas would instead have been served by people movers (APMs) from other stations. However, the KCRC's proposal had not yet been finalised.
At the same time, the MTRC submitted a new proposal to the government. According to the proposal, the Kwun Tong line would be extended from Yau Ma Tei station to Whampoa station (as the KCRC had decided to omit Whampoa Garden station from its proposal), and the route of the SCL would follow the KCRC's original proposal instead of the 2005 modified proposal. An underground train depot would have been built beneath the passenger terminal of the former Kai Tak International Airport, adjacent to Prince Edward Road East in Kowloon City; however, under the Kai Tak redevelopment plan released by the government in October 2006, the depot would have to be constructed somewhere else.
On 11 April 2006, MTRC signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the government of Hong Kong, the owner of KCRC, to merge the operations of the territory's two railway networks. According to the memorandum, the MTRC-owned MTR lines will be fully integrated with the Shatin to Central Link, which will be part of the MTR system. The government also intended to choose the KCRC's modified proposal to build the railway, that is, extending the current East Rail line to Hong Kong Island. However, final decisions were not made before conducting further studies on the proposal with the MTRC.
The new proposal was announced jointly by both companies on 12 July 2007, before the merger of the two rail networks on 2 December that year. Under this proposal, the depot for the Sha Tin to Central Link would have been built underneath the former Tai Hom Village site between Kai Tak and Diamond Hill stations. The people movers were omitted; Causeway Bay North station was also removed from the proposal due to potential adverse effects on road traffic during construction.
|KCRC proposal (2002)||KCRC revised proposal (2005)||MTRC proposal (2005)||KCRC–MTRC proposal (2007)|
Ma On Shan Rail East Kowloon Extension
East Rail Cross-harbour Extension
Shatin to Central Link
The MTRC announced a revised proposal on 11 March 2008. The government would fund all of the required HK$37.4 billion for construction. The Executive Council approved the construction cost of HK$79.8 billion in March 2012 and construction began on 22 June 2012. Under the final proposal, the former Hung Hom Freight Yard adjacent to Hung Hom Station will be converted into stabling sidings for Sha Tin to Central Link trains, and new access tracks will be constructed to link the Sha Tin to Central Link with the former Hung Hom Freight Yard. Central South Station was excluded in the modified plan, as no suitable sites had been found.:39 One station at Hin Keng (just south of Tai Wai) was added to the proposal afterwards, to alleviate congestion at Tai Wai Station.
The original commencement date of Phase 1 was 2018; Phase 2 was expected to be completed in 2020 or 2021. Some of the construction work of Phase 2 will follow the completion of Wan Chai Reclamation Phase 2 and Central–Wan Chai Bypass, as there are overlaps between station and tunnels. On November 2014, Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung revealed that the project would be delayed by at least another 11 months, caused by archaeological Work at To Kwa Wan station (now renamed as Sung Wong Toi station), and extra enabling works at Exhibition Centre station for topside development. The authority later submitted a document to the Legislative Council, stating Phases 1 and 2 would be completed in 2019 and 2021 respectively.
The 11-kilometre tunnel of the East-West Corridor was fully broken through in August 2016.
As of February 2017, construction and tunnel boring is underway for the sections between the Exhibition Centre station and Causeway Bay, and between Causeway Bay and Kowloon. MTRC has set up an Immersed Tube Tunnel Casting Yard at the site of the former Shek O Quarry at the south side of the Hong Kong Island to pre-assemble sections of the tunnel tubes, which will be then transported by sea and immersed in place. As June 2017, the first Immersed Tube Tunnel units was installed in Victoria Harbour, marking the beginning of constructing the fourth harbour-crossing railway tunnel in Hong Kong. 11 tube tunnel units in total will be constructed and placed for the harbour crossing section.
Both of the new corridors will receive new signalling systems as part of the Sha Tin to Central Link project. The technology, known as communications-based train control (CBTC), will minimise train intervals while complying with existing and future infrastructure, such as platform doors/gates.
The East West Corridor will use SelTrac CBTC supplied by Thales. This is an updated, more modern version of the Seltrac IS technology already installed on the West Rail line, Ma On Shan line, and Kowloon Southern Link. New on-board computers are being retrofitted to the existing SP1900 trains as part of their modifications to form 8-car trains, supplemented with newly acquired 8-car trains delivered with the new computer already installed. All stations on the Ma On Shan Line have also received half-height platform gates in conjunction with the upgrade, and new underground stations will have full-height platform doors installed.
The North South Corridor will have the TBL train protection and Alstom's ATO system in use on the current East Rail Line including the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line replaced with Trainguard MT CBTC supplied by Siemens. (AWS used by intercity trains on the East Rail Line is not expected to be affected.) At the same time, all platforms would be modified and equipped with half-height platform gates (full-height doors on the new underground stations) to provide level boarding and minimize the gap with the train. Refurbishment and expansion work on platforms and stations will also be carried out.
Admiralty, Diamond Hill and Hung Hom stations, all of which will become major interchanges following full opening of the new lines, will be expanded or relocated to cater to increased demand.
The East West Corridor will operate using a combination of both new and existing rolling stock, while the North South Corridor will have its existing rolling stock fully replaced with new stock.
Tsz Wan Shan station was removed from the 2007 final proposal due to its depth. Because of this, pedestrian facilities with lifts, travellers and covered walkways will be built for the Tsz Wan Shan community, connecting with Diamond Hill station.
From the Ma On Shan line at Tai Wai station, the East West Corridor will continue southwards on an embankment to Hin Keng station, and then head southeast in tunnel towards Kowloon. After Diamond Hill station, the line will turn southwest and continue in tunnel through Kowloon City to Hung Hom station, interchanging with the Kwun Tong Line extension at Ho Man Tin along the way. At Hung Hom, the East West Corridor will connect to the West Rail line just south of its new platforms at the station and interchange with the North South Corridor.
The North South Corridor will connect to the East Rail Line north of Hung Hom Station, adjacent to the southern portal of the tunnel under Princess Margaret Road; and will enter a tunnel to new platforms at Hung Hom Station, interchanging with the East West Corridor. The line will then traverse under Victoria Harbour, parallel to the Cross-Harbour Tunnel, and then continue in tunnel westwards from the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter to Exhibition Centre and Admiralty stations.
The Kwun Tong line extension, an associated project completed in late 2016, is a southeast extension of the Kwun Tong line from Yau Ma Tei station to Ho Man Tin station, where there will be an interchange to the East West Corridor. The line then continues under Wuhu Street and Tak On Street to a single dead-end platform at Whampoa station.
|Livery and name||District||Connections||Opening date|
|East West Corridor|
|↑ Ma On Shan Line to Wu Kai Sha|
|Tai Wai||Sha Tin||North South Corridor||15 August 1983|
|Diamond Hill||Wong Tai Sin||Kwun Tong line|
|Kai Tak||Kowloon City|
|Sung Wong Toi|
|To Kwa Wan|
|Ho Man Tin||Kwun Tong line|
|Hung Hom||Yau Tsim Mong||North South Corridor
Through Train services to Mainland China
|30 November 1975[a]
being relocated 2019
|↓ West Rail Line to Tuen Mun|
|North South Corridor|
|↑ East Rail Line to Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau|
|Hung Hom||Yau Tsim Mong||East West Corridor
Through Train services to Mainland China
|30 November 1975
being relocated 2019
|Exhibition Centre||Wan Chai||North Island Line (under planning)||2021|
|Admiralty||Central and Western||Island line, Tsuen Wan line and
South Island line
|Kwun Tong Line extension|
|↑ Kwun Tong Line to Tiu Keng Leng|
|Yau Ma Tei||Yau Tsim Mong||Tsuen Wan line||31 December 1979|
|Ho Man Tin||Kowloon City||East West Corridor (2019)||23 October 2016|
At initial stage, Sung Wong Toi Station was named as To Kwa Wan Station, while Ma Tau Wai Station was named as To Kwa Wan Station. Yet, such naming did not please adjacent community as geographically former To Kwa Wan Station was not recognised as part of To Kwa Wan. Therefore, MTR internally amended the naming but had not been revealed to public until 2017 Panel on Transport of Legislative Council.
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