Shatin to Central Link

After taking part 10 years ago in the construction of the Hong Kong metro from 1998 to 2002 by building the 5 tunnels in Black Hills as part of the system’s expansion to the new city of Tseung Kwan O, VINCI Construction Grands Projets was mandated by MTR Corporation Limited (which operates the Hong Kong metro) to undertake 2 lots for the new Shatin to Central Link (CSL) line. The first lot calls for the construction of a 2,475-metre using the blast method and a 1,400-metre twin-tube tunnel excavated by TBM. The second lot consists in the construction 700-metre tunnel by means of blasting.


Hong Kong, which is China’s fifth-most populated city and ranks among the world’s most densely populated urban areas, is currently experiencing a new phase of infrastructure development. The city’s first metro line was opened in 1910. Today, the network encompasses no fewer than 9 metro lines, an express line servicing the airport, and a Light Rail Transit (LRT) system. To accommodate increasing passenger traffic in Hong Kong, the local government announced in 2009 that it would invest in expanding the rail network as part of the Hong Kong 2020 program, which also aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in this major metropolis. In addition, this new project is designed to link the island of Hong Kong with the New Territories (which represent more than 80% of the surface area of Hong Kong and are home to more than half of its population).


The new SCL line in Hong Kong is divided into 15 main lots and calls for the construction of 18 kilometres of underground railway and 5 new stations and the development of 3 interconnecting stations. Our contracts include construction of a 2,475-metre using the blast method and a 1,400-metre twin-tube tunnel using a slurry TBM with an excavated diameter of 7.4 metres, and a 700-metre blast tunnel.
The project also includes construction of 4 shafts. Accordingly, we built a ventilation building in the MCV shaft (40 m in diameter and 40 m deep), a TMB-launch shaft at Diamond Hill (40 m long and 32 m deep), a firefighting-access shaft connected to the 2 tunnels at Fung Tak (16 m in diameter and 32 m deep), and a cut-and-cover shaft 99 metres long at Hin Keng.
To comply with noise standards and ensure residents’ comfort, we installed noise- and dust-attenuation in these heavily urbanised zones.
The challenges encountered throughout the project were also of a practical nature (for instance, strict regulations regarding the use of blast techniques) as well as geological and geographical (the site in which the blast tunnel was built is an extremely densely populated and constrained urban area).

Our contract, which included construction of shafts and tunnels, were atypical in that we used two methods to build the tunnels: use of a TBM and blast techniques.


This project represents a third of the length of the metro line that will connect Shatin and Central, the hub of economic and business activity. This extension constitutes one the major challenges from a technical standpoint in the Hong Kong 2020 program. This project will enable people living in the New Territories to reduce their travel time by 30 minutes per commute. It will also relieve traffic congestion and meet the Hong Kong 2020 program objective of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by the year 2050.
In 2050, two-thirds of the world’s population will live in cities (as against 50% currently). This means that large metropolises will have to manage their energy and waste-management requirements and transport systems more effectively. The new SCL project contributes to this vision and aims to make Hong Kong cleaner, safer, and more sustainable.

Project participants

Owner and project management
MTR Corporation Limited

Arup e& Halcrow

Key figures

Implementation dates
December 2012 to December 2020

618,500 m3

127,712 m3


“It’s a challenging city with many administrative, urban, and geological constraints. Building in Hong Kong is a big challenge.”


Cairo Metro Lines 1, 2 and 3