ON MARCH 8 Hong Kong’s Kowloon - Canton Railway Corp awarded the first two railway systems contracts for its West Rail project, valued at a total of HK$3·5bn. The 30·3 km West Rail Phase I linking Kowloon, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun is due to be completed in 2003.

Worth HK$3·1bn, the rolling stock order covers 250 EMU cars to be supplied by a Japanese consortium of Itochu, Kinki Sharyo and Kawasaki Heavy Industries. The first 96 cars, to be delivered from April 2001, will augment KCR’s existing East Rail fleet on the Hung Hom - Lo Wu corridor. The remaining 154 cars to follow after April 2002 will form 22 seven-car EMUs to operate West Rail Phase I.

The HK$383m contract for design and supply of signalling and train control on West Rail has been won by the Transport Automation division of Alcatel Canada Inc. Installation is programmed to start in mid-2001, with completion by mid-2003 to enable the start of test running in the second half of that year.

West Rail has been packaged into 17 civil engineering construction and 20 railway systems contracts. Two design-and-construct contracts were awarded in September and October 1998 for the Tai Lam and Kwai Tsing tunnels. Most of the other contracts are due to be placed during 1999 (RBR 99 p54), and bids for trackwork closed last month.