First milestone reached in rail link to Southern District
The hassle of going to Ocean Park, Hong Kong’s homegrown theme park, by bus from Admiralty will be a distant memory once the South Island Line (East) starts operations in two years time.
Railway operator MTR Corporation (0066) marked the first significant milestone reached in the project with the topping out of Ocean Park Station on Monday.
Company chief executive officer Jay Walder said on full completion, it would take just four minutes to get to Ocean Park from Admiralty.
“That is probably less time than you will spend in the shower or a drink a cup of coffee,” Walder said in press release.
With the completion of civil works at the station, tracklaying, electrical and mechanical and fitting-out works will start immediately.
Ocean Park chairman Allan Zeman said the theme park recorded 7.6 million visitors in 2012 which he expected to increase by 10 to 15 percent once the rail link was completed.
He said the theme park’s own upcoming projects to add new attractions would benefit from a new transport link.
“The ease of travel will really help a lot,” Zeman said.
Construction of the seven kilometre line started in May 2011 and is expected to be completed in early 2015 with operations due to start in late 2015 after a period of testing and commissioning.
The South Island Line (East) has five stations: Admiralty, Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang, Lei Tung and South Horizons.
The maintenance depot is located at Wong Chuk Hang.
As at the end of November 2013, the line was 50 percent complete overall with the civil works at 65 percent completion.
The viaducts were 70 percent complete while the tunnels were 60 percent complete.
Ocean Park Station is the first station to be topped out.
In May 2011, MTRC entered into a project agreement with the government for the design, construction, operation and financing of the South Island Line (East).
The project, with an estimated cost of HK$12.4 billion, is being implemented under the Rail-and-Property Model with capital expenditure for construction being financed by the revenue from future property development at Wong Chuk Hang.
Australian company Leighton Contractors (Asia) was awarded a contract worth HK$2.51 billion in May 2011 to build Ocean Park and Wong Chuk Hang stations, the viaducts and Aberdeen Channel Bridge.
MTRC project manager for South Island Line (East) Ken Wong Kin-wai said construction cost was still within budget although some additional costs due to unforeseen factors were met by contingency sums in the budget.
“As such at present we cannot see any chance of budget overrun occurring on South Island Line (East),” Wong said.