Local consultation for Tuen Mun – Tsuen Wan – Sha Tin Railway

Local consultation for Tuen Mun – Tsuen Wan – Sha Tin Railway

The local consultation exercise is now ongoing. Would residents please refer to the following information and provide your kind opinion to the issue!


The proposal

The proposed railway is a monorail connecting Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan and Sha Tin, with an alignment adhering to Tuen Mun Road, without any reclamation.


The justification

(* Content of District Quarterly No.7)

Why railway in our district?

1: Railway as vital vessel amid chronic congestion of roads

“Report on Study of Road Traffic Congestion in Hong Kong” released in December 2014 by Traffic Advisory Committee, pointed out that there are too many vehicles on the road causing traffic congestion and the number of vehicles in Hong Kong is increasing in an alarming rate. In recent years, congestion happens on the strategic routes such as Ting Kau Bridge and West Kowloon Highway even there are no traffic accidents. A journey of half an hour ends up costing an hour becoming a norm. Every commute residents could do nothing but wish the traffic would be smooth.

The railway provides an independent transport system which is unaffected by road conditions. It provides stable service amid road traffic imbalance acting as the vital vessels of our district.

2: Substantial increase in population of West New Territories

Along Castle Peak Road – Tuen Mun Section a dozen of residential projects would be completed in near the future. Since bus lanes are in force at Tuen Mun Road during morning peak hours, it is anticipated that most of the new traffic from these new residences mostly flow to the Sham Tseng Interchange. Seven years later, Hung Shui Kiu and Yuen Long Nam new development areas would be progressively occupied, which further increase the burden on Tuen Mun Road and Ting Kau Bridge.

Nonetheless, the government has no relevant railway planning. Relevant documents of “Hong Kong 2030+” suggests the development of East Lantau Metropolis and rail link between Tuen Mun and Hong Kong Island after 2030. It is virtually impossible to use the current infrastructure to sustain the current development of West New Territories. Soon, Tuen Mun Road will likely be back to the era of everyday-congestion which we experienced in the past.

Why terminating at Tai Wai rather than Nam Cheong?

3: Railway connecting East and West providing wider coverage

Connecting the new railway to Nam Cheong Station may allow easy interchange to Tung Chung Line to Hong Kong Island or West Rail to Tsim Sha Tsui or Hung Hom. The other way round is to connect the new railway to Tai Wai Station. As such, Tsuen Wan Line, East Rail Line and the upcoming Eastern and Western lines would be easily accessible. Accessing Kowloon East would be easily than before.

Moreover, the construction of the railway takes time and heavy cost. At present, the railway network focused on the development of routes connecting the North and South. The infrastructure investment connecting the East and the New Territories is apparently less. Moreover, as Hong Kong is in the process of decentralisation, a sustained tread of relocation of commercial activities to Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong and Shatin is on the way. Rail connection between Tuen Mun, Tsuen Wan and Tai Wai stations enhances the currently weak transportation between the three major towns, which serves Hong Kong as a whole rather than residents in the local districts.

Why monorail rather than conventional heavy rail?

4: Facing the true limitations and Raising viable proposals

The government repeatedly proposed the construction of Tsuen Tsuen Railway and studied its feasibility. Since the Railway Development Strategy in 1994, a new railway linking Tuen Mun and Tsuen Wan along the Castle Peak Road was being studied but later decided to observe Tai Lam Tunnel which becomes West Rail Line today. The task forces of Tsuen Wan and Tuen Mun District Council in the past published a report on the proposed construction of Tsuen Tsuen Railway in 2011. However, the government continued to use the conventional railway development model to carry on their feasibility studies. As a result, the conclusion of “high cost”, “high difficulty” and “affecting the natural scenery” was drawn in the Railway Development Strategy Report in 2014.

For past two decades, many studies have explicitly ruled out the conventional railway development model for Tsuen Tuen Railway. The only way forward is to face the problems pointed out in the research report squarely and raise practical solutions. I propose to build the railway without reclamation and run along the Tuen Mun Highway. Monorail allows more flexibility than the conventional railway to run through undulating hills.

Why dual system of express and local trains?

5: Benefiting most areas along without sacrificing speed

In the Railway Development Strategy 2014, there were only five stations between Tuen Mun and Tsuen Wan West, including Sam Shing, So Kwun Wat, Tsing Lung Tau, Sham Tseng and Bayview. The report concluded that the population is dispersed along the route and there would be limited time saving should the new railway be built.

I propose a dual railway system with express and local trains which cover even more areas. For the more densely populated areas, the station will be upgraded to express train stations to keep the railway attractive. Areas in which future developments are known, such as Cafeteria Beach, Tai Lam will benefit from the railway. For areas with less population but without anticipated significant population changes such as Ting Kau, the necessity to build up a station would depend on the future planning.

Dual systems and even multiple systems are very common in Japan, which we would learn from its mode of operation. For example, the Tokaido line connects Tokyo and Kobe, in which express trains only stop at major cities, while local trains stops at rural areas.

What would be the implication to our district?

Although I propose the railway to run along the hillside which avoid damaging the coastal environment, railway development would cause significant changes in the community.

The railway will bring tourists into the district and streets may become crowded. Asset prices may rise due to the railway, which may lead to rising rents, disappearance of shops and presence of chain stores. Risks of redevelopment or rezoning would be increased due to the enhanced transportation. Traffic assessment may allow more development projects to be carried out along Castle Peak Road and increase the population density.

Councillor’s Concept

Illustrative concept for location of Tsing Lung Tau Station

Illustrative concept for location of Sham Tseng Station


Technical Information

Monorail – The First Monorail in Hong Kong

Monorail is one of the passenger-carrying railway way. It differs from conventional railway because the train rides on a box-shaped straddle beam made of concrete with rubber tyres, as compared to the steel wheels on parallel steel rails in the conventional railway system. Rubber tyres produce less noise and no squeezing sound. Monorail does not need additional a board base or noise barrier. It is visually lighter than the conventional railway. It causes less damage to the scenery and obstructs less daylight and wind. It is more flexible and easier to manoeuvre on undulating hills of Tuen Mun Road.

The example of Chongqing Rail Transit

Chongqing is a city on highland with hills. Building conventional railway for the city is relatively difficult. Chongqing introduced the monorail system from Japan and becomes currently the longest railway system carrying the most passenger in the world.

 

Technical Specification

 

Cost concerns

One of the most frequently made critique is how does this proposal respond to the cost concern, in which the government proposal is partly rejected because of the enormous cost. This is responded by first calculating the cost and profit of current railway development model. Take South Island Line East Section as example, the construction cost as reported by MTR to the Legislative Council is HK$15200 million as at November 2014. The residential development will be of 357500 m2 and that of commercial will be of 47000 m2. Take the nearby residential second hand price as reference, the price for each m2 of saleable area is HK$0.1605 million. The revenue for residential development is approximately HK$57378 million. The residential construction cost, as reported by Rider Levett Bucknall in fourth quarter of 2014, is HK$0.023 million per m2. Therefore the cost is estimated to be HK$8222.5 million. Subtracting railway and residential construction cost from the residential revenue, the net profit is HK$33955 million, which is approximately 2 times the cost.

In light of the cost issue, this proposal suggests the railway should be re-evaluated with the following three adjustments:

1. substitute the proposed underground heavy rail with elevated medium-capacity railway to reduce costs.

2. develop properties on depot near Tai Lam or Gold Coast to help finance the construction.

3. diversify the spending from solely infrastructural to integrated community facilities.

 

Basic direction of adjusting the location of the station

The location of the stations are determined by balancing a series of factors, using the common assumption of 400-metre passenger catchment radius:

1. Population & Density
The station is attracted to the centre of population. This included the anticipated developments published through the Outline Zoning Plans of Town
Planning Board,  the land sale schedule of Lands Department and the actual construction sites from satellite imagery.

2. Existing buildings & Topography
As a general principle, the railway has to avoid sharp turns and deep cutting into the landscape. Sharp turns reduces speed and comfort while deep
cutting costs a lot and complicates the construction.

3. Potential useful sites
Along the 18-km strip, there are some sites which would be the interest for the railway station to connect to.

A multi-purpose railway

This new railway not only benefit the residents by shorter commute time, but also enable outsiders easier to come. This makes commerce or industry possible in the strip. For example, additional programmes in stations are seen as necessary to activate this strip. Residents travel far away from the strip for work, grocery or recreation on daily basis. Railway station is meanwhile a thoroughfare for all passengers on train, including those whose destination is not that station. Thus, it is the most efficient place to provide the residents those daily needed spaces. Passengers from other stations may stop at respective stations for a particular service. This is the intention of the commune – facilities placed in one station could also serves nearby stations.


[The polling period was over. The results would be announced soon.]

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11 thoughts on “Local consultation for Tuen Mun – Tsuen Wan – Sha Tin Railway

  1. 本身青龍頭及深井屬於較為寧靜區域,如興建鐵路,必然會破壞了該區相對寧靜環境,將這區變成和荃灣相約有鐵路直達繁華熱鬧吵雜的地區,這些絕非居住本區居民主流樂見的事;而興建亦非一時三刻即便完成,一段不短的日子(過程數以年計),亦必然會影響居民的生活及以至身心,例如改路封路,使交通擠塞,沙塵滾滾,住民得不償失。發展不一定是硬道理,起碼在這區不大合適,希望伍議員不要只根據考慮整體社會主流只一味追求發展的意向,而忽略針對本區的實際需要。

  2. I fully agree the building of the proposed railway as I have been hoping this since many years ago even before the building of the current Western Railway. I think this proposed Tuen Mun – Tsuen Wan Railway is more worthwhile than the current Western Railway since more residents all along the railway line would be benefited. I also think the MTR Tusen Wan Line should have extension (toward the western areas) long time ago just like many other MTR main lines like Kwun Tong Line and Island Line (Tusen Wan Line have never had extension since it had been built over 30 year ago!)
    Nevertheless the Tuen Mun – Tsuen Wan Railway are so desired now as the Tuen Man Highway and the Western Railway always are heavily loaded these days. In addition, the idea of railway between Tsuen Wan and Tai Wai sound so good since it is currently lacking of railway connection between the west and the east. It would be even better if this proposed railway can be connected to the Western Railway at the current Tsuen Wan West station (Tsuen King station has to be skipped but it can still be covered by the extension of Tsuen Wan Line).

  3. 十分贊同建議,採用mono rail 的概念,貫通屯門-青龍頭-深井-荃灣及大圍沙田。近年小欖掃管笏一帶,有很多新的住宅樓宇建成,人口激增。對沿海青山公路及屯門公路,造成非常大的負荷,交通意外頻生。用monorail, 依山而走,能避免/減少對青山公路沿海寧静氣氛的破壞。是非常好的建議。

  4. Demand for a fast and reliable transportation mean is highly increasing in the upcoming future with respective to the rocket raise of populations between Tuen Mun and Tsuen Wan. Monorail is a creative and practical approach to resolve the traffic issue between Tuen Mun and several major suburbs along the Castle Peak road to Tsuen Wan with less noise incurred and no impact to the sea view of resident being enjoyed. The end point station located in Tai Wan is also a good idea to shorten the travel time from West to East. Hope this proposal can be approved and put into production asap.

  5. Absolutely agree with the proposal. Building a monorail is a cost effective approach to help solving the traffic issues. In addition, the west rail is fully occupied in the peak hours, therefore it is important to build another pathway to divert the people from Tuen Mun

  6. 非常讚成建築monorail,香港人口愈來愈多,住屋成為非常緊張的問題,、亦是政府要面對的困難,所為路通財通,有良好的鐵路網,便可以把人流疏散離開市區,現在元朗,屯門有土地,但交通網絡未能配合,現在亦是時候興建集體運輸工具,mono rail是一個實
    際的方案,而接駁大圍站可巯散人流經鑽石山 亦善用鑽石山向觀塘方向,再到港島,是一個絕好的安排,沿山而起亦不會破壞海岸風景,鐡路一拖再拖,直接拖慢沿線發展,是時候改變
    信沿岸居民

  7. 絕對有咁嘅必要,因為未來區內嘅發展太多,宜家已經有啲負荷唔到,再冇好嘅配套日後肯定更加應付唔到,非常贊成建議!

  8. 本人作為麗城二期居民,最近的車站為荃灣西站,往往需要花上15-20分鐘才能到達,炎夏步行過程苦不堪言。荃灣西為荃灣區的新發展區,此走線其實對於連接荃灣西站毫無幫助,此為可惜之處。東西行的定位,亦注定使得此線難以吸引九龍市區及香港島上班族的日常需求。

    另外,荃灣市中心為此走線之其中一站,如果車票性價比合理及車站位置理想,難免會重創 96B 小巴服務,情形一如南港島線及通知令區內巴士線重組一樣,持份者(如專線小巴公司)估計會大力反對。

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