Construction Methods

The 26-km Express Rail Link (XRL) runs from the Station in West Kowloon to Shenzhen. The Express Rail Link will operate in tunnels, which will be constructed by tunnel boring, or by drill and blast methods. The Station as well as some facilities will be constructed by the cut-and-cover method.

Cut-and-Cover Method

The West Kowloon Station as well as facilities like Shek Kong Stabling Sidings (SSS) and Emergency Rescue Siding (ERS) will be constructed by the cut-and-cover method.

Cut-and-Cover is a simple method of construction where the structure is constructed inside a trench which is then backfilled.

Drill & blast

The tunnel between Ngau Tam Mei and Tai Kong Po in Yuen Long and the tunnel between Tse Uk Tsuen in Pat Heung and Shek Yam in Kwai Chung (via Shek Yam in Kwai Chung) will be constructed by the drill and blast method.

The drill & blast method will be used when the tunnels are in rock. This method is a proven and commonly used rock tunneling method worldwide and in Hong Kong, such as the construction of several underground stations including Quarry Bay, Tai Koo, Fortress Hill and North Point Stations on the Island Line. Thorough inspection would be carried out before and after blasting to ensure safety.

Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM)

The main tunnels in Yau Tsim Mong, Sham Shui Po and Yuen Long districts will be constructed by tunnel boring machines.

About Tunnel Boring Machines (TBM)

Rotating steel cutter head of TBM
Breakthrough of TBM in the tunnel

Apart from cut and cover and blasting, Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) is a commonly used construction method in building tunnels nowadays. The type of tunnelling method to be used depends on the specific geology of the project, tunnel length or diameter, logistical arrangements, environmental and other factors.

With a large rotating steel cutter head at the front of the shield, TBMs can pass through different types of soil, rock or mixture of both. The TBM is a multi-functional construction tool, which can excavate and remove excavated materials, and at the same time install the reinforced concrete lining of the tunnel as it progresses. This method, unlike cut and cover excavation works, does not require disruption to the road surface during construction.

This powerful machine weighs more than one thousand tons, and has to be activated by about five thousand kilowatts of electricity equivalent to that needed to light up five thousand light bulbs. In addition, each TBM and its components have to be tailor-made according to the diameter and anticipated geology to be excavated.

Naming Competition Results

To enhance the understanding of the use of TBMs as a construction method for tunnel construction for the XRL Project, a TBM naming competition is co-organized by the MTR Corporation and the four contractors who will use TBMs in the project. These four contractors are:
  • Penta-Ocean Construction Co Ltd;
  • CRCC-HC-CR15G Joint Venture;
  • Maeda - China State Joint Venture;and
  • Dragages - Bouygues Joint Venture.

The competition has been ended on
31 March 2011.
  • Creative;
  • Aptly describe the characteristics of TBM;
  • Highlight the benefits of using TBMs;and
  • Relevant to the XRL.
  • All members of the general public are welcome to participate;
  • Each participate may submit one submission form only, with 4 nominations at most;
  • If the selected nomination is submitted by more than one participant, the winner will be selected by draw;
  • No foul languages;and
  • Nominations which are not related to the themes of the Competition will not be considered.
Tunnel Boring Machine Name
Prize Winner: Li Chung Hin
(Yan Chai Hospital Wong Wha San Secondary School)
Prize Winner: Hsu Yau Yung Jonathan
Prize Winner: Li Tsz Ying
(Kwun Tong Government Secondary School)
Iron Lady
Prize Winner: Cheng Leong Man
(Yan Oi Tong Tin Ka Ping Primary School)

Each of the above prize winners will receive $2,000 cash coupon of MTR malls and a certificate.

Top Participating Schools
  • Cheung Chau Government Secondary School
  • Fanling Government Primary School
  • Liu Po Shan Memorial College
  • Maryknoll Fathers' School
    (Primary Section)
  • Ning Po College
  • Po Leung Kuk Stanley Ho Sau Nan Primary School
  • Pooi To Middle School
  • Pun U Association Wah Yan Primary School
  • Saint Joseph's College
  • Shatin Tsung Tsin Secondary School
  • S.K.H. Chi Fu Chi Nam Primary School
  • St. Mark's School
  • Tai Po Government Primary School
  • Tuen Mun Catholic Secondary School
  • T.W.G.Hs. LEO Tung-hai LEE Primary School
  • T.W.G.Hs. Wong See Sum Primary School
  • Yan Chai Hospital Wong Wha San Secondary School
  • Yaumati Catholic Primary School

Prize Winner (in alphabetical order)
Each of the above prize winners will be awarded $1,000 book coupon and a certificate.

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