Trolleybuses normally require a web of overhead wires in order to supply power to the electric vehicles that run beneath them – but in the streets of Beijing’s Wangfujing shopping district, they aren’t necessary.
The buses drop their trolleypoles.
But keep moving.
Having switched to battery power instead.
Then put their trolleypoles back up elsewhere in the city.
I found trolleybus routes 103 “Beijing Railway Station – Beijing Zoo” and route 104 “Beijing Railway Station – Wuluju” running through the Wanfujing pedestrian zone in battery mode – this list by Zhiyuan Jiang details Beijing’s other trolleybus routes, some of which also use battery mode in pedestrian areas.
September 2018 saw first high-speed train service travel between between Hong Kong and Mainland China, following the opening of the the new Express Rail Link and the new West Kowloon Terminus. So what has happened to the locomotive hauled Intercity Through Trains and their terminus at Hung Hom?
But a few months after the new express rail link opened, and MTR Intercity Through Trains continue to run from Hung Hom station.
With no mention of service changes on the MTR website.
And train travel website The Man in Seat 61 listing three options to travel from Hong Kong to Beijing.
Option 1, by direct classic sleeper train. Arguably the nicest & cheapest way between Beijing and Hong Kong is the classic sleeper train. This takes 24 hours (an afternoon, a night and a morning) and runs every two days, with soft & hard sleepers & restaurant car.
Option 2, by direct high-speed train in just 8h58. The Guangzhou-Kowloon high-speed line opened on 23 September 2018, allowing direct high-speed trains to link Beijing and Hong Kong at up to 350 km/h (217 mph).
Option 3, by high-speed sleeper train. Take a high-speed Vibrant train to Guangzhou South, then a D-category high-speed sleeper to Beijing. This involves one simple same-station change of train, but it’s arguably the most practical and time-effective option of all.
Passenger dedicated line refers to the railway system that only runs passenger trains and technical operation trains. There are many types of passenger dedicated lines, which are generally divided into railway trunk lines (铁路干线), inter-regional railways (区际铁路), inter-city rails (城际轨道交通) and suburban city express (市域快铁) trains according to the railway administrative nature.
China’s passenger lines have two major classes:
Class 1: high-speed rail passengers (high-speed passenger line), the railway ranks on the high-speed rail. China stipulates that the high-speed railway is a high-speed (with a speed limit of 250 km/h) passenger line, which is its technical standard and functional positioning, while the passenger-vehicle dual-purpose railway with a speed of 250 km/h is a fast-speed railway.
Class 2: Fast-speed passenger-class (fast passenger line), which is a passenger dedicated line (the city express train and some inter-city railways , such as the Dagang Express Railway and the Changsha-Zhuzhou-City Intercity Railway ) , which is lower than the 250 km/h speed bottom line standard of the high-speed railway.
Ever since construction started on the MTR Shatin to Central Link project, I’ve had one big question – how would the two new lines interface at Hung Hom station, and interface with the new and existing tunnels?
The Sha Tin to Central link (abbreviated SCL; Chinese: 沙中線) consists of two new railway lines:
Phase 1 from Tai Wai station in the New Territories to Hung Hom station in Kowloon, connecting the Ma On Shan line and West Rail line forming the Tuen Ma line, codenamed “East West Corridor”.
Phase 2 from Hung Hom station to Admiralty station on Hong Kong Island as an extension of the East Rail line, codenamed the “North South Corridor”.
Four new underground platforms are being built to serve the new railway lines.
MTR artist impression
These newly built platforms will be clean and bright.
MTR artist impression
Compared to the dark and dingy platforms used by passengers today.
8-car long trains on the East West Corridor will use the island platform on the top level, with 9-car long trains on the North South Corridor using the island platform below below.
With deep excavations beneath the station and podium and the close proximity of the works to existing structures, all construction works for SCL 1112 have to be carefully considered in advance and assessed for their potential impact on the integrity and safety of the structures above.
At an overall station depth of approximately 15 m below ground, the deep excavations require ground support. Diaphragm walls are the primary form of ground support and also form the permanent station walls. The diaphragm wall construction technique used provides an effective groundwater cut-off during excavation and offers robust protection to the existing structures.
Another main challenge at Hung Hom is that the headroom available beneath the podium structure is relatively low, making construction works more difficult. Specialised plant and equipment was required to construct these diaphragm walls, excavating the soil down to competent rock. Once the excavation is completed, steel reinforcement cages were installed to give the panel the required strength. Each of these reinforcement cages can only be installed in 4m-long sections due to height restraints beneath the podium, and so a considerable number of these cages had to be joined together to create a single panel. Such works took considerable time and was labour intensive. Once the cages were installed, concrete is placed in the panel and then that panel is complete.
In a number of locations beneath the podium the required SCL alignment conflicts with the maze of existing podium foundation columns. To remove these column’s sophisticated jacking systems are required to transfer the existing podium loads onto new foundation structures, clear of the SCL alignment, before the existing foundations can be removed. The structures, new and old, are monitored 24-hours per day to alert the construction teams of any potential concerns which may affect the safety of the structures.
New tracks will tie the underground platforms to the existing network.
Following the completion of the East Rail Line extension across the Victoria Harbour, the current platforms 1-4 will be converted for use by Intercity Through Trains.
The shunting track for platform 1-4 was dismantled to allow the construction of the East Tsim Sha Tsui extension in 2001, followed by the removal of the connection between platform 2 and the current East Rail Line with the opening of the Kowloon Southern Link in 2009.
The track to these platforms will be reconfigured following the opening of the East West Coridoor, and the locomotive traverser will be modified to be suitable for long-body locomotives such as the HXD1D.
But my theory – two platforms are more than enough to cater for Intercity Through Trains, so no modification works will be carried out – platforms 1 though 4 will instead be sealed off from public access and then abandoned.
And a footnote on stabling sidings
Another Shatin to Central Link project activity at Hung Hom station are the Hung Hom Stabling Sidings, occupying the former Hung Hom Freight Yard, under an existing podium structure.