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Rail link section on track to open as planned

Local | Sum Lok-kei Nov 14, 2017
The Tai Wai to Hung Hom section of the Sha Tin-Central Link is 92 percent completed and will open as scheduled in mid-2019, an MTR Corp Ltd official said.

However, the company did not disclose the cost of the project, which reportedly has gone over the HK$20 billion budget.

Speaking after a site visit to Kai Tak station attended by members of the Legislative Council's transport panel, MTRCL chief signal engineer (operations) Philip Wong Wai-ming yesterday said the section will run from Tai Wai to Hung Hom and join the MTR's West Rail and Ma On Shan lines.

Structural work has also been completed at seven new stations along the link, which Wong said had been roofed. The company said in August that tracks on the section had been laid.

While there were difficulties in the construction, Wong said the company had made necessary arrangements to catch up with its schedule. At Wong Tai Sin, for instance, engineers encountered "sticky mud" that made drilling difficult. It has also done work to preserve the archaeological finds unearthed at a construction site at To Kwa Wan.

"Although there is still some time before the launch, some citizens are already benefiting from the Sha Tin-Central Link project," he said.

Trains on the Ma On Shan Line had been extended from four to eight carriages, while those on the West Rail had one extra carriage to bring up the lines' capacities.

Asked for an update on the construction cost, Wong said the MTRCL will submit a new estimate to the government next month. "About the construction cost work is ongoing, as we've told the government, we will submit a report in the second half of 2017," he said.

Photos provided by one of the lawmakers show the Kai Tak Station is orange in color. The station has four exits, one leading to the One Kai Tak housing estate.

Legco's railway panel chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun said the project will be at least HK$10 billion over budget. The government and the MTRCL will have to negotiate with contractors, but Tien said either way tax payers will bear the costs.

The company said earlier that train services on the North South Corridor section of the link will commence in 2021.

As of September, work on the section that runs from Hung Hom to Admiralty was 59 percent complete.



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