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What Rail Professionals Need to Know about Hong Kong

A Maxim Recruitment overview of Hong Kong’s buoyant rail market


In the first of five articles on rail, road, bridge, airport and building construction in Hong Kong this article looks at some of the major rail construction projects already under way and to be completed in the coming years.


Hong Kong a finance and transportation hub


Hong Kong, the special administrative region (SAR) of The Peoples Republic of China is undoubtedly one the world’s most active construction markets. Seen by many as the headquarters of Asian business, Hong Kong is a bustling region that possesses both the money and the drive to become one of the worlds leading economies.


What rail professionals need to know is that it is not only home to a breathtaking skyline of high-rise buildings but also to the world famous Mass Transit Railway system (MTR). Completed in 1979, the MTR, currently operating with seven lines, is Hong Kong’s favourite and most practical form of public transport (over four million trips daily). This popularity combined with Hong Kong’s ever expanding market, has meant the government has been forced to increase the number of MTR lines and the territory they cover.


New rail construction projects in Hong Kong


The Hong Kong Government has approved the Kwun Tong Line Extension. The project is a three kilometer underground extension from Yau Ma Tei via Man Tin to Whampoa. With the construction of two new stations and operating with eight car trains. Detailed designs of the project began in mid 2009 with a predicted completion date of 2015, costing HK$4.5 Billion.


The Shatin to Central Link extension has been split up into two phases. The Shatin to Hung Hom link is eleven kilometers long, building seven new stations and has a predicted completion of 2015, costing HK$ 28 Billion. The second phase of the project is an extension of the east rail line from Hung Hom to Central and will cost around HK$ 12.7 Billion. This completes the Shatin to Central link and is another six kilometers long underground with 2km running under Victoria Harbour. Construction on the second phase is estimated to start in 2015, with completion in 2019.


Recently successful proposals have led to even further expansion of the MTR. This consists of the West Island Line which is a 3km extension of the Island Line to Kennedy Town. The extension will use eight car trains and create three new stations.  The construction of the West Island Line started in August 2009 and will finish in 2014, costing HK$ 11.3 Billion.


The latest MTR project to be awarded is the South Island Line (East section) from Admiralty to Ap Lei Chau. The South Island Line (East Section) is budgeted to HK$ 11 Billion. Operating with three car trains, four stations and spanning seven km. The South Island Line (East section) is expected to finish in 2015. In order to finish on time and on budget, the regions leading Rail Contractors require skilled professionals to join their team and offer western expertise on the project to avoid and diffuse the major problems that surround them such as densely populated areas, narrow streets and a shortage of access points.


Hong Kong constructs express rail links into China


Although the Mass Transit Railway system is the most famous infrastructure project going on in Hong Kong there are also many other projects ongoing in the buoyant region. The Express Rail Link from West Kowloon to the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong border is one of the largest and most expensive projects undertaken in Hong Kong’s history, rivaling that of the MTR system built at the end of the 1970’s. The project is a 26km long twin bored tunnel with trains that can reach speeds of 200 kph and has new underground terminus with 15 platforms at West Kowloon. Construction is predicted to be completed by the third quarter in 2015. The Hong Kong government is set to fund the entire project.


The region of Hong Kong certainly holds some of the most prestigious rail/infrastructure projects in the world today and the urgent need to build has led to an increase in the demand for both Hong Kong residents & UK expatriates to help construct the new extensions and ground breaking projects.


How to find out more about construction jobs in Hong Kong. Maxim have a variety of rail and infrastructure clients involved in rail and MTR projects in Hong Kong. If you are a rail or infrastructure professional and are seriously interested in looking at construction jobs in Hong Kong please forward your CV via the applications page giving details about your expertise and desired role.


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