The Lighthouse Q3 2022

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Lighthouse Club International Aust Myanmar | Philippines | Singapo e | Thailand | UK / Ireland | Aliis Cum Humanitate Q3 2022 presents: Instigates NEW ERA for Hong Kong RAIL TRANSPORTATION MTR


A warm welcome to all Lighthouse Club members, and others in our construction industry reading this magazine, wherever you may be. From the UK to the Middle East, Asia to Australia, and beyond, Lighthouse Clubs around the world exist because of you. If you’re not yet a member, it’s simple to join via our website or your local branch.

Our work in Lighthouse Club International continues and we are actively discussing the creation of new branches, providing members with more options for networking in the industry. We are also a supporting organisation presenting at an upcoming Construction Conference in Dubai on 7-8 November, furthering our reach to new audiences.

Recent accidents in Hong Kong resulting in fatalities and injuries have turned our attention to charitable needs and also the need for whole life-cycle safety considerations involving all parties involved in design and construction, whether it be for permanent or temporary works. Our industry can be much safer, let’s do our part. The Lapdog Challenge takes place on 10 December 2022 in Hong Kong, raising monies for the charities.

In this issue, there is a focus on railway projects. Railways are one of the great connectors for civilised societies, whether inter-regional, inter-city, or intra-city. From London, Paris and New York to Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Melbourne and many more - our construction industry is at the heart of this, with ever-increasing ingenuity to deliver complex infrastructure in city complexities and to more stringent environmental and sustainable requirements as we strive to improve our connectivity without detriment to the planet.

The progression of rail infrastructure design over the last 150+ years (the first underground railway was opened in London in 1863 to reduce street congestion) has been truly astounding. The speed and scale of high-speed rail infrastructure implementation in mainland China is breathtaking. All over the world, railway stations often become treasured landmarks, embedded in the fabric of society and their value often realised via Transit Oriented Development (TOD), encouraging development over and nearby. Conversely, at grade and elevated railway lines can be detrimental to nearby sensitive receivers due to people movement, noise, vibration and visual impact, which encourages more construction industry ingenuity in the mitigations. Yet with all this mass development and with such a high uptake in passengers and freight, few railways and metro systems are profitable, with the emphasis being largely on societal benefit.

Construction industry fellowship and networking remains the focus of our Lighthouse Clubs, with charitable activities undertaken where permitted by local jurisdictions. Please enjoy reading this magazine, share it with your industry colleagues, and check out the events advertised on your local branch website and/or our official international website. Thank you to all supporters and contributors.

About The Lighthouse Club

“The Lighthouse” is the magazine of Lighthouse Club International, originally established in 1998 as Lighthouse Club Asia Pacific Region and superseded in November 2017 by Lighthouse Club International. With its roots in England in 1956, the Hong Kong Branch was formed in 1986.

The aims of the Lighthouse Club are to promote good fellowship amongst its members who work in or are associated with the construction industry and to provide charitable assistance to those in need within the construction industry and to their dependents in qualifying cases.

In addition to the charitable works of the individual branches of the Lighthouse Club, Lighthouse Club International supports two related Hong Kong based charities which provide charitable assistance internationally.

The James Battersby Lighthouse Club Educational Trust which provides assistance for education and training to qualifying young persons in the Asia Pacific Region; The Lighthouse Club International Benevolent Trust which provides assistance to relieving poverty and financial support to persons currently or previously employed in the building and civil engineering and allied trades.

The Lighthouse Q3 2022

Lighthouse Club International Suite 1901-2, Hopewell Centre 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Administrator: Elaine Man E:, T: +852 2736 9885

Editorial Committee: Elaine Man / Elizabeth Dooley (Consulting Editor) Janey Rogers / Keith Buckley / Mike Staley Steve Tennant

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Message Official website : The Lighthouse is online at
The Lighthouse4

Executive Committee:


Robert Gordon,

Immediate Past Chairman Glenn Haley,

Chairman Elect Jim Chessell,

Deputy Chairman Keith Buckley, keith.buckley@lighthouseclubmacau. com

Secretary Janey Rogers,

Treasurer Neil Roberts,

Membership Secretary Neil O’Meara,

Elected Branch Representative:

Australia David Gibson Nick Longley Yazeed Abdelhadi

Cambodia Kerr Thomson

Hong Kong Neil Roberts Steve Tennant

Macau Keith Buckley keith.buckley@lighthouseclubmacau. com

Malaysia Pui Mun Teoh

Myanmar John Anderson

Philippines Bert de Munck

Singapore Jim Chessell

Thailand Gareth Hughes

Vietnam Colin Johnston



Phil Clarke

Willie Kay

Les Leslie

Nick Longley

Bert de Munck

Steve Tennant

Phil Thoburn


President and Honorary Life Chairman John Battersby Honorary Life Members
Buckley - Macau
- Macau
- Singapore
- Hong Kong & UK
- Hong Kong & Australia
- Malaysia & Philippines
- Hong Kong
- Philippines In This IssueCover Story 50 Contents Benevolence
Y-CRCCI JV join hands with The Lighthouse Club Lap Dog Challenge 2022 Interview Meet the new Committee of Lighthouse Club Australia Sir Douglas Oakervee reflects on an illustrious career Cover Story MTR’s SCL marks a new era in Hong Kong’s rail transportation Feature - The RAIL ISSUE MTRCL & Leighton-China State JV Macau LRT + An Unusual Railway! Railway projects on track in the Philippines TSA Rail Projects Update Melbourne's Metro Tunnel Project Branch Reports Philippines Australia Thailand Macau Members Lighthouse Club International Corporate Member 22 32 16 46 22 6 10 6 8 56 10 50 42 50 60 44 38 32 52 54 60 22 38 166 5

Hong Kong Outing Event Journal 27 August 2022

To catch the tail end of the summer holiday, Paul YCRCCI Joint Venture joined hands with The Lighthouse Club Hong Kong Benevolent Fund Committee (LHC) to organise a trip to Yim Tin Tsai before school started, on 27 August 2022. This was one of the regular outings jointly arranged by the Lighthouse Club for the underprivileged children and/or families who have been adversely affected by serious construction accidents involving their loved ones.

Everybody was worried that the trip would be influenced by the weather conditions after the typhoon, but thankfully it was clear and sunny. All the families firstly enjoyed a seafood lunch and then took a short, 15 minute boat ride from Sai Kung and arrived at the salt farming island, Yim Tin Tsai.

The families were treated to many stories about the history of the island, such as its prominent industry of revitalized saltpans. We also visited the most famous landmark of the island, St. Joseph’s Chapel, which is a beautiful, Romanesque building constructed in 1890 and listed as a Grade III historic building.


All of us also enjoyed the serenity and calm of Yim Tin Tsai, as well as trying the local steamed hakka dumplings and other traditional food, too.

Afterwards we visited Sharp Island which is a Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark. Despite the tiny elongated shape, it is perfect for visitors to enjoy natural wonders like the “pineapple bun” giant boulders on the beach which have been weathered and eroded to various degrees to yield irregular cracks, giving them their weird shapes.

Before the end of this happy day, the families finally visited the Volcano Discovery Centre to learn about volcanology, volcano structure, volcanic eruptions and related geological knowledge.

Although everyone was required to mask up, the volunteers could still see the smiles in the eyes above the masks. We look forward to planning another voluntary event in the coming future.

Text: Ng
Benevolence 7


2022The Lap Dog Challenge celebrates its 7th Anniversary in 2022.

Since 2016, this annual charity event has raised a total of over HK$8 million. The proceeds have generally been provided to the Lighthouse Club Hong Kong Benevolent Fund (LHCBF) and in 2021 approximately HK$200,000 was allocated to the Hong Kong Breast Cancer Foundation (HKBCF).

Lap Dog Challenge 2022 will be run on Saturday 10 December 2022 at the Stanley Ho Sports Institute athletics track, Pok Fu Lam.

For the uninitiated, the Lap Dog Challenge requires teams of five runners to complete as many laps of a 400m running track as they can within five hours. It is not a relay. The purpose of the runners’ efforts being to raise funds through sponsorship.

As in 2021, this year 90% of funds raised will be provided to LHCBF and 10% to the HKBCF.

This year there are thirteen teams comprising 65 runners. The 2022 teams are BKAsiaPacific, Dragages, Gammon (2 teams), Hip Hing (2 teams), Leighton, The Lighthouse Club Hong Kong, Secretariat, Sygna, TCG Constructions (2 teams) and WT Partnership.

In 2022 fundraising effort has got off to a fantastic start thanks to support from our named sponsors VEGA and JEB.

Details of how you can sponsor a firm in this year’s event will be issued shortly.


Let technology transform your workplace experience Advanced AV/IT Solutions Security Occupancy Sensors SpacePlatformsManagement Live Streaming Room

Winds of Change Sweep through the Australian Chapters in 2022

In January






during the tenure of

I intend to formulate a post-Covid

will also

The Club must build


Oh, and above all,

your main objectives for LHC Australia
your presidency?
recovery strategy to rebuild membership across the various chapters and to deliver more consistent monthly networking events. I
encourage the opening up of new chapters in South Australia and Northern Territories.
better relationships with our main beneficiaries TAFE and
in Construction and my personal hope is to create more connectivity and information sharing with other countries via engagement with LHC International!
to have fun whilst achieving these aims!
2022 Lighthouse Club Australia voted in a new committee from its various state chapters. The newly elected members will serve for a period of 12 months. The Lighthouse was keen to hear from David Gibson and his committee about their hopes and aspirations to carry the Australian chapters into the future, and to introduce them at this time to the regional membership. The new committee members are:
Gibson – President, Chartered Quantity Surveyor [Sydney] Charlotte Hobbs – Treasurer, Head of Business Administration Asia Pacific [Sydney] Yazeed Abdelhadi – Vice President (Victoria), Engineer [Melbourne]
Mcroy – Vice President (Queensland), :Talent Acquisition Partner [Brisbane] Richard Baker – Vice President (Western Australia), Forensic Delay Analyst [Perth] Sadie Andrew – Vice President (New South Wales), Lawyer [Sydney] Nick Longley – Secretary, Lawyer [Melbourne]
Gibson Interview10

The Lighthouse asked the newly appointed committee members a series of questions. Below are some of their answers.

In what way will the new Vice Presidents support the executive during their tenure?


As a VP for Queensland, my role is to raise awareness of LHC Australia locally through conversation, marketing ,events and benevolence activities. I feel that state VPs are the ‘eyes and ears’ on the ground for their particular location so knowledge sharing and providing feedback to the executive is part of the role. I also ensure the constitution is being met for all activities in Queensland.

What are some of the main objectives for your Chapter, during your tenure as a committee member?


As National Treasurer with a background in event management, I would love to organise a rigorous event calendar by which our members can plan their interstate travel, or even international travel! Our relationships with other Lighthouse Club factions, particularly Singapore and Malaysia, offer great opportunities for international networking and fundraising.

JULIA DREOSTI a) Bring the LHC to South Australia for the first time; b) Provide a forum for the industry to come together and support a very worthy initiative: C) Provide a platform for thought leadership in theconstruction sector as well as an informal opportunity to connect.


I want to bring some new fundraising activities to QLD including sponsored walks , golf days and quiz nights. Plus a big goal for me is to build new partnerships with worthy causes and other charities that can benefit from LHC Australia donations within our constitution.

Hopefully helping to create more events and networking to grow the membership at a corporate level and attract more sponsorship.

During your tenure what is the one thing you would like to do to advance the LHC Australia and, in particular, your own chapter?


A measurable metric I’d love to see happen is an increase in Corporate Memberships held with the Lighthouse Club. I find that our relationships with businesses in the construction and law industries increase the ‘cross pollination’ of networking, hosting events, and thought leadership opportunities.


I would like to see us help more in education, for example tertiary bursaries to compliment the more traditional construction elements we support.


Diversity! In a number of ways, gender, age and nature of businesses. The Australian chapters are heavily supported by law firms which is fantastic, but I’d like to engage with construction contractors who are closer to the people we want to help/support through donations/bursaries etc.

Interview 11

What unique experience do you bring to the LHC Australia Committee?


As a woman who is under 30 years old working in the construction industry in a business operations role, my approach to events, fundraising, and networking may differ from my fellow committee members. I see the Lighthouse Club as an opportunity to not only network in the industry but forge real relationships that transcend work or business development. This is how the Lighthouse Club Australia has welcomed me into the onstruction industry, even not as a traditional construction professional!


I have been a board member for various not-for-profit organisations. Being a member of the LHC Australia Committee gives me the perfect opportunity to use those NFP skills to assist those in my industry sector of work.


I dedicate a good number of hours for ensuring adequate administration of LHC Australia. In my time with LHC Australia, I have served as a committee member, event manager, membership director, treasurer and vice president. This enables me to fill any gaps and to provide support to all members of the LHC Australia Committee.

What are some of the greatest challenges facing the construction industry in Australia?


Due to border lockdowns in the last couple of years, the Australian construction industry has not had the required resources to complete ongoing projects; also, rising material prices have caused some large construction organisations to endure financial hardship.

JULIA AND ALEX Resources, including people and materials. Supply chains!

Skilled resource shortages and the continued myopic approach of implementing huge infrastructure schemes simultaneously without considering the resources required to perform. We haven’t learned the lessons from the similar resources boom 15 years ago.

Julia Dreosti Richard Baker

What is the most critical support that LHC Australia can offer the local construction market?


Exposure to a wide variety of skills and experience as well as financial support for those hardest hit by the current problems in the workplace.


A collaborative approach to construction projects through conversation and knowledge sharing at our events.


Solidarity and support for quality training.

As a final question, we asked the Committee: As Australia emerges from Covid, what are some of the events you have planned around the chapters?


We have ramped up our evening drinks sessions and are looking to host a dinner or potentially a river cruise around Christmas which has already attracted interest from sponsors and attendees.


I can see we are back to normal now, with LHC events being organised across Australia. In Melbourne, in particular, we are planning one networking event on 22 September 2022 and one major panel discussion event (Tracing a Construction Claim) during the Australian Arbitration Week on 8 November 2022.


I am extremely keen to finally bring the much-lauded Tracing a Construction Claim to South Australia.


Tracing a Construction Claim; the Brisbane Ball 2023!; Panel discussions in person where we hear from a range of professionals and their opinions; In-person events which include a mixture of networking and CPD and, in particular, inviting special guests to host inspirational speakers and senior leaders to provide industry updates including health projects, education projects, major leisure projects etc.

Yazeed Abdelhadi Charlotte Hobbs
Interview 13
GUIDING CLIENTS ACROSS THE LEGAL LANDSCAPE THREE COMPANIES –ONE NAME 20+ Global o ces 30 years supporting Asia 200 Consultants Bringing global knowledge and local expertise to the construction industry in challenging times. Three Companies become One Learn more about Plus 3 Work file 3_A5.pdf 1 07/03/2022 6:36 pm





Reflections on an illustrious career, his thoughts on climate change, charity and the future of the industry.

Sir Douglas Oakervee’s career dates back to 1957 when he became an apprentice joiner on the site of London’s first 20-storey tower block. A shortage of people in the industry post-war and the subsequent rebuilding of bombed out parts of the city had left a trail of opportunity for anyone who was willing to work hard.

And work hard he did – working during the day, and attending night school to fulfil his ambitions to one day become a civil engineer. What he describes as a ‘meteoric rise’ landed him a job working as general foreman on a mixed-use development on the site of one of the city’s underground railway stations.

“It was probably the finest education I had in as much as in those three years I gained the equivalent of 15-20 years of experience, thanks to the guidance of an elderly trades foreman who had no wish to be the general foreman,” he says.

Always one to take the bull by the horns, one evening he read in the newspaper that a firm called Charles Brand & Sons had just won their third contract for the construction of the Victoria line of the London Underground.

“Rather cheekily I sent a letter off to the chief engineer to congratulate them, asking if they ever needed to increase their establishment of engineers then I was their man.”

He was surprised to get a call two days later asking him to come for an interview. Suffice to say, he got the job – albeit for a reduction in salary of £1000 per year, taking him to a grand total of £750 per year.

Text: Elizabeth Dooley Photos: Douglas Oakervee Interview16

“The boss gave me a huge dialogue of how the Institution of Civil Engineers had interfered with the employment of graduates on minimum wage and that I should be paying him to learn from him. For me, it was a question of long term prospects,” he says.

With a staff of 80, it transpired that only three were not civil engineers. Five hadn’t been to public school and two hadn’t been to university and Douglas fell into both those categories. He was, however, an apprentice to the late well-known civil engineer, James Rennie, who was passionate in his belief that to work in civil engineering you needed to have an in-depth and thorough training.

Photo captions
to bottom:
Inspecting a cross passage tunnel under construction on the Victoria Line in the 1960s.
TRANSIT RAILWAY, HONG KONG c.1977 Celebrating a stage completion at Lok Fu Station, I'm in the centre with the black helmet flanked on the left (as you look at the image) by George O Archer and on the right by Ian Thoms.
MASS TRANSIT RAILWAY On the construction of the Modified Initial System, October 1975 to March 1980; myself accompanying the Governor, Sir Murray Maclehose (later Lord Maclehose of Beoch) making a formal visit to Lok Fu Station site in 1976.
MASS TRANSIT RAILWAY The Governor Sir Murray Maclehose on one of his regular Saturday morning visits. I’m the slim chap in the white boiler suit briefing both him and the MTR Chairman Norman S Thompson. This is taking place in a section of tunnel Kowloon Tong in c. 1977.
MASS TRANSIT RAILWAY October 1979 The first train to run on the first section of MTR to open between Shek Kip Mei and Kwong Tong and Kwun Tong.
1 2 3 4 5 Interview 17

“It was a bit of a fencing act but we soon realised that we had complementary skills. I had many more practical skills and a better understanding of construction, and they were obviously much stronger on the academic theory and mathematical side.”

He worked there until 1969.

“It gave me a brilliant education. The mixture of the skills I’d built up on the building site, coupled with my practical experience and their academic experience made us much more rounded engineers,” he adds.

Having worked for a number of other companies working on small tunnelling jobs in the UK, he then went to Dublin, Ireland to work as a project director for

CHEK LAP KOK - HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. 1991 T0 1998, Briefing Margaret Thatcher on the airport platform during the reclamation phase.
Photo captions from top to bottom 1. EASTERN HARBOUR CROSSING 1986 to 1989 Inside one of the conduits within the immersed tube unit during sinking . At the end can be seen the steel bulkhead holding back the sea. 2. EASTERN HARBOUR CROSSING 1986 to 1989 The first immersed tube tunnel unit being manoeuvred into position prior to sinking at Quarry Bay. 3. EASTERN HARBOUR CROSSING 1986 to 1989 A Joint Venture led by Kumagai Gumi Ltd. of Japan 4. About to deliver the Bid in 1985. 4. CHEK LAP KOK - HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. 1991 to 1998. One of the many starting completion ceremonies I attended. This one is with Sun Hung Kai Ltd. 5. CHEK LAP KOK - HONG KONG INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT. 1991 to 1998. Briefing
Douglas Hurd - UK Foreign Secretary, with Governor Chris Patten on his vist to Chek
lap Kok. 1 2 3 4 5 Interview18

the design and construction of eight miles of tunnel in the south of the city. Towards the end of the job, he had a call from head office to pack his bags. It was a Wednesday and they needed him to be in Hong Kong on Monday to work with an organisation called the Provisional Mass Transit Railway Authority.

“They told me ‘They have aspirations to build a metro system in Hong Kong. Nobody believes they ever will, but your name’s come up and they want you to help them review the tunnel designs,’” he explains.

So started a three-month secondment in Hong Kong, one that would turn into a 25-year journey. From 1975-1981 he worked for the MTR Corporation, firstly as Chief Engineer, responsible for tunnelling, and later as Senior Resident Engineer and Construction Manager on the Modified Initial System and Tsuen Wan Line, the city’s largest infrastructure and construction projects of their time.

At this point he was planning to set up on his own, but was persuaded by Japanese contractor Kumagi Gumi to join them working on the construction of their MTR Island Line works. A year later he co-founded Oakervee Perrett & Partners, his own engineering design and project management company.

“We were one of nine consultants to put in a bid for the Gas Production Works at Tai Po, and to everybody’s surprise, and possible annoyance and anger, we won it.”

Subsequent projects included the then new HSBC Headquarters building, the Eastern Harbour Crossing and the Kwun Tong Bypass, and the design, in Hong Kong, of London’s Underground Jubilee Line Extension between London Bridge and Waterloo including Southwark Station. This was done in joint venture with Babtie of Glasgow.

“The fax machine had just arrived, and we used to work eight hours in Hong Kong and eight hours in the UK, so it was a long day without overtime. After that I had my arm twisted to take on the airport.”

Douglas says that from a business point of view his appointment in 1991 as Project Director of the Hong Kong Airport Authority, at the time one of the largest and most complex construction projects in the world, was suicide. He had to sell the business to take on the position because government had cited a potential conflict of interest. Not surprisingly Babtie acquired the business.

“I suppose the weakness in me was the engineering challenge got the better of me,” he laughs. “The creation of the platform in the South China Sea on which the Airport stands was the largest earth moving project in the world, competing only with the Three Gorges Dam project on the Yangtze River,” he adds.

With the Airport complete he left the Airport Authority in December 1998 and returned to the UK.

“At the beginning of 1999 I retired. I think I managed three months and it’s been a failure ever since!”

Sir Douglas served as President of Engineers Against Poverty from 2002 to 2008, and has since managed a number of major construction projects, including, as Executive Chairman of Crossrail, a new railway system crossing London and at the time Europe’s largest civil engineering project.

I ask him if he’s a workaholic.

Interview 19

More than half the world’s dredging fleet was employed dredging and reclaiming the island. The dredger seen here rainbowing sand onto site. Between the land and marine operation undertaken by an International Joint Venture is led by Nishimatsu of Japan over a period of 37 months to create the island platform some 350 million m³ of material was moved. Not surprisingly the contractors video was entitled “10 tons per second” as that was the speed material was moved 24 hours per day, seven days per week for 365 days per year.

THE HONG KONG CONSTRUCTION ADVISORY BOARD This body was set up during 1993 by The Governor to monitor and reset standards to improve quality and safety across the industry. Back row from left to right - Russell Black Project Director for the MTR Corporation and myself as Project Director for the Airport Authority Ariel view of the airport shortly after opening in 1998 showing the whole platform created in the South China Sea.

“Some brand me as so, but I suppose I enjoy work. I’m almost 82 now and I find it keeps the old brain working. It’s a way of life.”

In 2003-2004 he became the 139th President of the Institution of Civil Engineers, and in 2009 he returned to Hong Kong as NonExecutive Chairman of Laing O’Rourke Construction, a role he took on in parallel with his position as Non-Executive Chairman of HS2 Ltd.

He has three jobs on the go at the moment, mostly governmental, including working on a review for the HS2 railway network. He is also Visiting Professor to the University of Leeds, and one of a taskforce examining the problems of extreme heat on the UK’s rail networks after two lines were forced to close for 12 hours during the recent heatwave.

“Climate change is real,” he warns. “Decarbonisation is a big factor, and it’s definitely changing the way things are done, but I don't think it’s changing fast enough – that’s down to government, as well as industry.”

He also talks of the role the Lighthouse Club has to play in terms of ensuring the safety and wellness of members of the construction industry, following his seven year tenure as President, which began in 2011.

“The biggest problem we face here in the UK is that we still have 3040 workers die in the industry every year. We have over 2,000 people suffering from major physical issues. We have the worst rates of occupational cancer and 20% of absences are down to anxiety or stress, and we also lose two workers every day from suicide. The emphasis now for the charity is on our 24-hour help line to try to help deal with mental health and anxiety issues and wellbeing, and we’ve had a lot of interest and support from companies on this. The biggest concern with the current cost of living crisis is workers having enough money to survive.”

It’s not all bad news though. One of the biggest charity events of the year is the Christmas lunch, which raises around £250,000. So what advice would he give to people thinking about going into the industry right now?

“The opportunities and challenges are tremendous. It’s a very different industry to the one I joined, and it’s rapidly changing with new technologies and the use of artificial intelligence. But I do see an exciting challenge ahead, and the next generation has some very complex issues to deal with – not least relating to climate change and the change in the use of energy. They’re going to need all the disciplines to overcome that, but those in the construction industry will be the ones to deliver on it,” he concludes.

Sir Douglas was awarded the OBE in 2000 and the CBE in 2010. In addition, he has also been awarded the ICE Gold Medal, The Telford Medal and The Baker Medal.

Below is the full citation for his Knighthood, which he was awarded in The Queen’s New Year’s Honours List, 2022.


Oakervee has made an outstanding contribution to engineering globally. He played a crucial role for the Government, having been asked by the Prime Minister in 2019 to carry out a review of HS2. He assembled the Oakervee report in 4 months, recommending to the Prime Minister that HS2 should proceed. He was appointed Chair of HS2 Ltd in 2012 where he led the business case and hybrid bill preparation for Phase 1 of the HS2 project and in 2013 deposited the biggest hybrid bill ever and in an electronic format, a first for Parliament. In 2020 he took on the Presidency of the Smeatonian Society of Civil Engineers, the world’s oldest engineering society. During lockdown he arranged stimulating debates on engineering issues of the day. His role as a special representative in China for the Institute of Civil Engineers cements experience and delivers tangible benefits for Britain’s businesses in China and worldwide. Since 2017 he has been Chair of the Executive Group for Leeds University’s Institute for High-Speed Rail and System Integration

Interview 21
The Lighthouse takes a look at the planning, design and construction of the SCL and unfolds the journey and challenges in delivering the project.
Text: Elizabeth Dooley Images: MTR

Excavation of extended ADM was down to 50m (or 17 storeys)!!

The opening of the Shatin to Central Link (SCL) has reshaped the public travel pattern and metro network in Hong Kong. Railway services are now extended into East Kowloon, rejuvenating the old communities of Kowloon City and To Kwa Wan areas and new development in Kai Tak.

The history of the century old East Rail Line (EAL) has also been rewritten as a direct rail link, connecting the city border and the New Territories in the north with the Central Business District (CBD) on Hong Kong Island.

The SCL has provided a new dimension to railway planning, design and construction, and has highlighted new pathways to health and safety, not just for the MTR, but for the industry in

general. It wasn’t an easy journey, nor a short one. Early planning of the SCL began nearly half a century ago in the 1970s and subsequently became one of the Priority Railway Schemes recommended in the “Railway Development Strategy 2000”. Consisting of an 11km Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section and a 6km Hung Hom to Admiralty Section, the construction works of SCL commenced in July 2012.

Phase I of the Tuen Ma Line connecting the former West Rail Line with the former Ma On Shan Line to form the East West Corridor commenced passenger service in June 2021. Phase II, which extends the East Rail Line across the harbour to Hong Kong Island at Admiralty via the cross-harbour railway tunnel to form the North South Corridor opened its doors in May 2022.

Cover Story 23

Challenges and milestones

Engineering and construction of the SCL faced numerous challenges, not least those relating to ensuring safety. One of the major challenges was the modification and alteration works on the existing railway lines, including the East West Corridor and North South Corridor links of the SCL with the West Rail Line (WRL) and Ma On Shan Line (MOL), and also the century-old East Rail Line (EAL).

To commission the new TML, the 4-car trains on MOL and the 7-car train on WRL were standardised into an 8-car train formation. All the station structures on MOL were extended from a 4-car length to an 8-car length, with new retrofitted platform doors.

To accommodate the 8-car train operation, the MOL and WRL signalling system had to be modified and extended to cover the whole of TML, and additional evacuation points and emergency services provided on the extended stations and platforms.

To ensure that the existing lines remained in operation during construction, the project team made use of what became known as a “two-hour golden window” of non-traffic hours (NTH) to carry out construction works, in parallel with daily maintenance works. The operation of the existing railway lines was maintained throughout the whole period of station and system modification, with no disruption to normal daily service.

However, there were certain existing system modification works which could not be completed within the two hours of NTH. Examples include the overhead line and track bifurcation works to connect the existing EAL with the new SCL section at Hung Hom Station (HUH).

Works involved extensive track re-configuration to connect the existing rail tracks to the new section, modification of overhead lines and existing signaling system to integrate with the new railway system.

To facilitate these critical bifurcation works, a total of ten Sunday closures of the EAL service at Hung Hom were planned. A minute-by-minute working programme with check points was prepared for each of the Sunday closures to avoid any possible errors or time overruns that could affect the normal railway service resumption on Monday morning.

The EAL bifurcation work took seven Sundays to complete instead of the originally planned ten Sundays. The successful completion of the critical bifurcation work is a true testament to careful planning, strong project and risk management, and close collaboration between the construction and operation teams, as well as the contractors involved.

Notably, Admiralty Station, one of Hong Kong’s busiest stations, has now become “a mega station” with a four-line

Cover Story24

interchange consisting of three additional underground levels underneath the existing station structure. This was made possible by excavating down some 50m to a depth of 17 storeys.

Heavy underpinning to the existing structures with complex excavation sequence and multi-stages of ground stabilisation and support were devised and implemented and close to 650,000 tonnes of rock was excavated.

In addition, 4,000 tonnes of temporary steel structures supporting the existing station structure were deployed. Extensive instrumentation with real time monitoring was installed to ensure the ground response was within prediction limits.

Throughout the project, a total of six different tunnel boring machines (TBMs) were used in excavating the tunnels underneath Hong Kong’s most densely populated areas, with the choice of construction method and structural forms carefully planned to suit the site and ground conditions, works area constraints, and risk profiles of works.

Towing out precast immersed tube unit from the casting yard at Shek O
Cover Story 25

Another innovation came in the form of a hybrid variable density slurry TBM, believed to have been the first to have been used in Hong Kong. Winner of the Gold Award for Temporary Works Excellence during Construction Safety Week 2017, an event co-organised by the Development Bureau and the Construction Industry Council, the technology successfully minimised any inherent risk brought about by just 6m of ground cover on reclaimed land.

As such, it was chosen by the contractor to drive the tunnel between Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter and Exhibition Centre Station (EXC), where the density of slurry was adjusted based on

the geology and the TBM mode. The solution not only provided a safe support to tunnel excavation but also mitigated the chance of pressurised slurry leaking onto the ground surface, thus minimising the risks of excess ground settlement.

Another significant safety-related solution was the immersed tube tunnel (IMT), as used in the fourth harbour crossing railway tunnel, of which precast IMT units were manufactured at Shek O Casting Yard before being floated out, towed into position and immersed into Victoria Harbour one by one to minimise the impact on the marine fairway. The technology has proven to be a safe and efficient method for tunneling in

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sub-aquatic conditions with very low risk profiles, which has been used in Hong Kong for decades since the first IMT tunnel, the Cross Harbour Tunnel, was completed in 1976. A smart feature was used for the underwater IMT assembly, where a bespoke “gravel spreader” was developed to place and level the bedding materials before the precast IMT units were sunken into position.

MTR believes this is a first for IMT technology, where the use of a computerised system ensures the gravel bed is placed accurately with the correct thickness and level, thereby greatly reducing the amount of traditional diving work and thus further enhancing the risk and safety in IMT construction.

Building for the community

Adjacent to the Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre, the Exhibition Centre Station (EXC) has become an integral part of the Wan Chai North business area, bringing railway services to one of Hong Kong’s most prominent commercial hubs. Offering a reprieve from the crowded CBD, this new station provides an excellent attraction for tenants looking to relocate to fringe areas with highly improved transport links.

Of course, construction of any mega project inevitably causes some inconvenience and disturbance to residents and nearby communities. As such, visible local consultation and stakeholder engagement are always key to good communications and community relationships.

Recognising the extensive and complicated Temporary Traffic Management Schemes (TTMS) required for the station construction in Wan Chai North and East Kowloon areas, MTR held regular community briefings and liaised

One of the immersed tube units was “floated” up & ready for towing
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with local stakeholders, government departments, District Councils and interfacing contractors to provide visibility on the project works, in an attempt to minimise the impact on the community and public whilst maximising construction safety.

One example of good stakeholder engagement was the discovery of three World War II bombs during the excavation of EXC Station in Wan Chai. Upon the discovery of the first bomb in 2018, police were immediately informed, resulting in over 1000 local residents being evacuated and areas within

a 500m radius of the site being cordoned off within an extremely short time period. The bomb was safely defused by the Police and was a clear demonstration of the responsiveness and safety awareness of the whole team in times of emergency. Following the discovery of the first bomb, the remaining excavation was performed under controlled conditions, with scanning and supervision by unexploded ordnance (UXO) experts.

Subsequently, two more bombs were discovered on the same site, one over the next few days and the third one four months later, both of which were safely defused.

Keeping Hong Kong moving through Covid-19

The final 12 months leading to the opening of SCL was badly disrupted by the global pandemic. Supplies of overseas material supplies and technical support were severely affected by a globalwide lockdown, with overseas inspections and physical meetings all suspended.

During the fifth wave of Covid-19 from January to May 2022, infections spread in a ‘tsunami-like manner’ and in these totally unforeseen circumstances, special work arrangements were implemented by the Hong Kong government. For the SCL project, this was one of the most critical moments, requiring MTR to adopt stringent anti-pandemic measures to effectively ensure the

A remarkable moment when the EOD successfully defused one of the bombs
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daily operations of public transport, as well as completion of SCL construction. Here, safety measures included allowing only essential staff being permitted to return to the office, the introduction of split teams with fixed rosters to ensure the avoidance of contamination through physical contact across different teams, enhancement of personal and office hygiene and site cleanliness, as well as video conferences and virtual inspections. These efforts were well supported and implemented jointly by MTR, their working partners and contractors.

Upholding safety and professional standards

For Chief Project Safety Manager, Dennis Ip, the importance of driving health and safety can never be underestimated, and in line with MTR’s existing culture, two actions of equal importance were implemented throughout the course of the construction of the SCL.

These included executing a health and safety management system and creating a safety leadership culture. The health and safety management system demanded direct engagement of the workforce at all levels, from top management down to supervisors and site workers. Engagement started from the planning of tasks to reviewing construction methods and developing precise control measures.

In addition, visible safety leadership was adopted by senior management to demonstrate its commitment to safety, for example, communicating safety matters across the project by encouraging team members to speak up and report any accidents, incidents or even what could be described as ‘near misses’.

Lessons learnt were shared through various channels regularly to the whole team. The introduction of various promotional programmes with frontline workers including the Safety Quiz, Don’t Walk-By Campaign, Safety Awards, and safety awareness and mindset courses were also further enhanced.

Taking advantage of the new digital era

From a technological viewpoint, the construction industry has come a long way since the start of the SCL project. Riding on the experience of SCL, MTR is now launching various digital initiatives in the management and delivery of new projects. New project designs are to be undertaken in a BIM

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New Railway Projects

The project websites of corresponding new projects can be accessed via the following QR codes:
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environment, with all data, including drawings, specifications, documents and reports to be shared under a single Common Data Environment (CDE) platform. Furthermore, an integrated project controls system providing data exchange on budget and cost, programme management, contract administration and risk control is now connected to the CDE via a visualisation platform that enables project data to be uploaded, extracted, analysed and presented for status and trend reporting.

Smart phones, tablets and cloud-based data warehouses are now being used to foster a paperless working environment, and the adoption of digital code scanning has led to the method statements and safety procedures being easily downloaded to smart phones or tablets with the designated Wif-Fi network on site, enabling more efficient communications and a safer working environment.

Future extensions

MTR is now moving ahead with six new railway projects and supporting the relevant planning under the Northern Metropolis Development Strategy designed to further expand the existing railway network and enhance Hong Kong’s connection with other cities in the Greater Bay Area.

For these upcoming projects and those beyond, MTR welcomes a wider and deeper focus on design for safety in construction, where options include the use of more prefabricated components through the adoption of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) and Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) technologies.

The off-site production strategy has been designed to progressively enhance and raise industry standards on quality, safety and environmental controls relating to project delivery of all future extension lines.

The SCL project ranks amongst the world’s great railway projects, enhancing the connectivity of communities in east and west, and north and south Hong Kong. It really does promote our vision –Proudly Delivering, Embracing Innovation, Globally Recognised. Nowadays, public expectation is of a higher standard, be it transparency, environmental impacts, safety standards, and community engagement. These are areas we at MTR continue to strive to make improvements in our future network extensions.

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Completion of marks the Successful Collaboration between Exhibition Centre StationExhibition Centre Station MTRCL and Leighton-China State Joint Venture

The opening of the Exhibition Centre Station, a new station of the East Rail Line cross-harbour extension, brings a boon for Hongkongers this year. The new extension connects commuters from the northeast New Territories, Central Kowloon, and Hong Kong Island. A new option to cross harbour from Hung Hom Station to the Exhibition Centre Station in just five minutes, without having to interchange, connects the financial and commercial hubs of Wan Chai North.

To celebrate the exciting moment, hundreds of Hong Kong rail enthusiasts flocked to the new Exhibition Centre Station in the early morning on its first day of operation on 15 May 2022, to take the first train from Hong Kong Island to Kowloon via the fourth cross-harbour railway line.

Leighton-China State Joint Venture (the JV), was awarded the Shatin to Central Link Contract 1123 to build the Exhibition Centre Station and the approach tunnels at the west end. The construction presented unique challenges, including the complex diversion and temporary support of numerous utilities, complex pedestrian and traffic diversions and the construction of approach tunnels under the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Courtesy of MTR Courtesy of MTR
Text and layouts: Leighton Feature32

Construction works under dense and live traffic

The underground metro station is located at two of the busiest traffic routes in Hong Kong. Construction works were carried out in limited space to minimise the impact to the public transportation system of the area.

To minimise the diversion phases and impacts on the traffic, an optimised Temporary Traffic Arrangement (TTA) Scheme was implemented. In particular, a TTA plan involving modifications of six signalized junctions in Wan Chai North was typically executed at night. Its success was based on the continuous joint efforts of the project teams of both MTRCL and the Joint Venture as well as liaison with the local stakeholders.

The road network at Wan Chai North was diverted in stages to facilitate the construction of the Exhibition Centre Station.

Limited headroom for complex tunnel configuration

The approach tunnels in the west of the Exhibition Centre Station are located beneath the Atrium Link of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre with limited headroom, as low as 6 meters in places.

Special construction plant was deployed for the works including diaphragm wall construction, mucking out of excavated materials and installation of prefabricated structural steel components for the cofferdam of 25 meters deep on average. An infrared headroom surveillance system for mobile plants and restrictors to crane lifting booms were used to protect the facilities nearby.

Construction of tunnels under the HKCEC with limited headroom.

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Unexploded wartime bombs

Unexploded wartime bombs

On 27 January 2018, an unexploded World War II bomb weighing 1,000 lbs was discovered during the deep excavation within the temporary cofferdam. The JV team provided vital support to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau (EOD) under the Hong Kong Police to ensure its safe disposal.

On 27 January 2018, an unexploded World War II bomb weighing 1,000 lbs was discovered during the deep excavation within the temporary cofferdam. The JV team provided vital support to the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Bureau (EOD) under the Hong Kong Police to ensure its safe disposal.

Apart from temporary closure of multiple roads, thousands of people in the nearby office towers, hotels and shops were advised to either evacuate or to shelter in safe place for safety reasons while EOD defused the bomb.

Apart from temporary closure of multiple roads, thousands of people in the nearby office towers, hotels and shops were advised to either evacuate or to shelter in safe place for safety reasons while EOD defused the bomb.

Just three days later, another bomb of the same kind and weight was discovered within the cofferdam again. A third bomb of the same model as the aforesaid two was discovered on 10 May 2018. All were safely defused by the EOD with the support of the projects team of MTRCL and JV.

Just three days later, another bomb of the same kind and weight was discovered within the cofferdam again. A third bomb of the same model as the aforesaid two was discovered on 10 May 2018. All were safely defused by the EOD with the support of the projects team of MTRCL and JV.

After the first bomb was discovered, the methods of deep excavation work in cofferdam across the whole project were holistically reviewed. The geological site conditions were re-examined. For areas identified with UXO risks at the design stage, the excavation was then conducted in a controlled manner with manually scanning using a magnetometer by the EOD specialists from the United Kingdom.

After the first bomb was discovered, the methods of deep excavation work in cofferdam across the whole project were holistically reviewed. The geological site conditions were re-examined. For areas identified with UXO risks at the design stage, the excavation was then conducted in a controlled manner with manually scanning using a magnetometer by the EOD specialists from the United Kingdom.


Engagement with local stakeholders

The construction site of the 300-meter-long Exhibition Centre Station and another 300-meter-long approach tunnels was located in the bustling Wan Chai North commercial district. Variety of stakeholders, including the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre, The Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, two luxury hotels and serviced apartment buildings, two office towers based within the commercial complex, an indoor swimming pool, a public sports centre and the public nearby.

Maintaining a good relationship and communication with the local communities was a focus during the project delivery. This was managed by effective site induction training, pre-work briefings and task specific briefings. The JV and MTRCL Public Relations specialists had regular consultations with the stakeholders to ensure timely and proactive communications. By building up mutual understanding with the stakeholders and reinforcing trust, which was initially established by MTRCL in the community, both MTRCL and JV built a rapport relationship with the neighborhood throughout the planning and construction stages.

The construction site was located near the HKCEC, hotels and office towers.

Moving forward together

The cooperation and agility MTRCL and Leighton-China State JV along these years is one of the key success factors for the construction of Exhibition Centre Station.

The completion of the Exhibition Centre Station, one of the key components of the East Rail Line cross-harbour extension, marks the successful collaboration between MTRCL and the Leighton China State JV.

The teams worked closely together through Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) from the tender stage through to the successful commissioning of the metro station. Such experience are invaluable and the JV looks forward to building upon it for further railway projects, bringing socioeconomic and long-lasting value to the community.

The EOD Bureau of the Hong Kong Police safely defused three World War II bombs discovered in the EXC construction site.
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Macau LRT-

the big dream


The Macau Light Rapid Transit (MLRT), is a mass transit system in Macau and also the first railway system in Macau. The first phase of the project started construction in February 2012, and the first section of the Taipa line was opened to the public on 10 December 2019. Currently, the Macau Light Rapid Transit is operated by MTR (Macau), a wholly owned subsidiary of Hong Kong MTR Corporation.

The only line in the Macau light rail system that has been opened is the first section of the Taipa Line which runs from Ocean Station to Taipa Ferry Station, with a total length of 9.3 kilometres and a total of 11 stations and a main depot.


The LRT was first proposed in 2002 by the Macau SAR Government in the Policy Address for the Fiscal Year 2003, as a method to "solve the urban transport issues". In the same year, the Macau SAR Government entrusted the HK MTR Corporation to stage a preliminary study on a railway transport system. The original proposal was presented on 19 February 2003 and recommended the construction of an elevated light metro in two stages. The system would mainly cater to tourists, expecting them to take 85% of the projected 43,000 daily ridership, and was due to open in 2006.

The original proposal for the LRT was criticised by the public for being unable to handle the needs of Macau citizens, obstructing important views of the city, and also for being not cost-effective. In April 2003, it was then decided to suspend plans for the LRT, citing the reason the economic downturn caused by the SARS outbreak at the time.

Feature Text and images: Keith Buckley

A second feasibility study was conducted in 2005 by the MTR Corporation, analysing possible routes for the LRT. The second study recommended a mixed underground and elevated system, with three separate lines. A 2006 report recommended elevating the entire LRT line in Phase I for budget reasons, and it proposed only one line that stretched for 22 km with 26 stations.

The Macau SAR Government, after considering the opinions of the public, called for the construction of the LRT in November 2007 after publishing their optimisation program report months earlier. The optimisation program report stated that the Mass Transit Railway Corporation, together with an international consortium, should be tasked with the construction of the LRT.


Site investigation work started in 2008. In October 2009, the construction of the LRT was announced by the Macau SAR Government with the goal of the LRT being operational by 2013. Several changes were made to the plan. However, due to the constant changes to the route of the LRT, as well as appeal from one of the tender companies, the start date for construction was delayed multiple times, and substantial work did not commence until February 2012.

In December 2010, the government announced that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries had been chosen to provide the rolling stock and the system for the LRT, which would entail an order of 55 sets of 2-carriage rolling stock, as well as the accompanying communications and operating systems for the daily operation of the LRT. Currently, the line comprises one line with 11 stations across Taipa and Cotai and only about 2,000 passengers ride it daily.


The Taipa line began operations on 10 December 2019 and initially offered free rides from its opening until 31 December, which was later extended to 31 January 2020. The LRT is a driverless rubber tyred system, similar to the Singapore LRT, running on elevated guideways. The system closed on 19 October 2021 for six months to replace all 124km of high voltage cables.


Despite the painful development history of the LRT, the Transport Bureau is intent on improving the state of commuting in Macau. Recently the Bureau unveiled the land transport master plan

for 2021-2030. First among the plans is the expansion of the existing Taipa LRT to the Macau peninsula. The Barra station should be completed in 2023 and will be the first LRT station on the peninsula. The line will run inside the existing Sai Van Bridge linking the Ocean Station in Taipa to Barra and is expected to be operational in 2024. The contractor is China Construction and Engineering Macau Ltd.

Another expansion project will add two new stations spanning 1.6km across Cotai, one in the soon to be completed Islands Hospital and the second in the Seac Pai Van public housing complex in Coloane. This project is scheduled to be complete at the end of 2023. The contractor is China Road and Bridge Corporation. By the end of 2025, a dedicated underwater LRT tunnel will link Taipa to the newly built Hengqin station. Construction of the Hengqin extension began on 18 March 2021. The Hengqin Line is a cross-border LRT route and extends to Hengqin Island. The main structure of the Hengqin Line consists of a viaduct, an underwater tunnel, and two stations. Its total length is about 2.2 km and the tunnel section is about 900 meters. The line starts from the elevated station HE1, located nearby the Lotus Bridge in Macao, which can connect to the Lotus Checkpoint Station of Taipa Line. It runs along the Lotus Bridge and crosses the Shizimen Waterway to enter Zhuhai's Hengqin Island through an underwater tunnel,

Feature 39

and then arrives at the underground HE2 station in front of the Hengqin Port. Almost half of the new Light Rail Transit (LRT) Cotai-Hengqin section has been completed, and the project is on track to open in September 2024.The project is a two-station line connecting Macao’s Cotai and Zhuhai’s Hengqin Island, and is being built by Nam Kwong – the only state-owned enterprise headquartered in Macao.

Another major project, known as the East Line is an LRT seacrossing section connecting the Gongbei border gate check point and the Taipa Ferry terminal in Pac On, via Zone A and Zone E1 reclamation zones and is expected to be completed by 2028. The initial plan of East Line is expected to have 6 stations with a total length of about 7.8 km. The north part of the East Line is set to run from the neighbouring area of Border Gate and passing through the coastline in front of the Avenida Norte do Hipódromo and the Avenida da Ponte da Amizade to the New Urban Zone A. Extending south along the central greenway of the New Urban Zone A, the East Line then crosses the sea to connect the New Urban Zone E at Taipa. The New Urban Zone E station will connect the existing Taipa Ferry Terminal Station of the Taipa Line.

Looking to the future, the government plans to build a new LRT line connecting Barra to the Gongbei Border Gate, along the peninsula’s west coast and will be known as LRT West Line. It is said that this route is very complicated and will not be built for 10 years.

An Unusual Railway

Whilst writing an article about the Macau LRT for this magazine, I was reminded of a railway in Germany, from my childhood days. I was born in Germany in 1948 and one memory that stands out in my mind, is a story of an elephant falling out of a hanging railcar, into the river below.

I then did some research and came up with the following interesting information:

The Wuppertaler Schwebebahn is a suspension railway in Wuppertal Germany. Its original name was Einschrenige Hangebahn System Eugen Langen. Eugen Langen was the designer. It is the oldest electric elevated railway with hanging cars in the world and is a unique system in Germany. It comprises one 13.3km line with 20 elevated stations. It was constructed between 1897 and 1903 at a height of between 8 to 12 metres above the river Wupper and began operation in March 1901.

There have been a number of incidents over the years. One of the most famous ones occurred on 21 July 1950.The Althof Circus organised a publicity stunt by putting a baby elephant on a train at one of the stations. As the elephant started to bump around during the ride, she fell out of the car and into the river below. The elephant, two journalists and one passenger sustained minor injuries. Both the operator and the circus director were fined.

Worldwide there are only 7 suspension railways in operation – in Germany, Japan and China.

2007 2022 ANNIVERSARY Room 505, 5/F., 299QRC, 287-299 Queen’s Road Central, Hong Kong

Railway projects on track in the Philippines

Metro Manila is a densely populated region with a population of approximately 15 million. The larger urban area surrounding and including Metro Manila has an estimated population of over 21 million.

LRT Line 1 which was opened in December 1984 is considered the first and oldest Metro Railway in Southeast Asia. However, even following the opening of LRT Line 2 and MRT Line 3, Metro Manila still suffers from heavy traffic congestion and lack of transportation alternatives. With other urban areas in the Philippines growing fast, the country is overdue for improvement of infrastructure in general and, in particular, public transportation.

With the election of President Duterte in 2016, a significant change in the Filipino desire to improve the infrastructure nationwide has been made a reality. The “Build! Build! Build!” program was launched as one of the centrepiece programs initiated by the Duterte Administration and comprises the acceleration of public infrastructure projects. The objective of the “Build! Build! Build!” program is to encourage economic recovery, reduce poverty, reduce the traffic congestion in Metro Manila and improve the country’s overall infrastructure.

The Program comprises a broad scale of projects including covering inter alia Roads, Airports, Seaports, Urban Development, Water Infrastructure and Public Transportation. The list of projects is extensive and extends to approximately 100 projects. Various projects are already under construction or have been completed but a large number of projects are still in the proposal and/or procurement stage.

Since 1 July 2022 the Marcos Administration has been the successor of the Duterte Administration. At this time, it appears that the “Build! Build! Build!” program will receive continuous support from the new President. However, it is to be expected that certain projects will be thoroughly reviewed or renegotiated on a case by case basis. With regards to Public Transportation projects, several railway projects are already under construction and due to their necessity the current administration plans to continue the roll out of these mega projects.

Text: Bert de Munck, Board of Trustees, Lighthouse Club Manila

Most of these projects are funded by Official Development Assistance (ODA) loans and/or grants. As a result of the financial support by ODAs the procurement of these large infrastructure projects will be in accordance with the procurement guidelines of the relevant ODA and the applicable Conditions of Contract are usually the FIDIC Pink book, the Multilateral Development Bank Harmonised Edition.

This article will highlight some of those railway projects which are currently under preparation, being procured and/or under construction.

North South Commuter Railway

The North South Commuter Railway (NSCR) project has a total length of approximately one hundred and fifty (150) km and connects New Clark City and Clark International Airport in the North, through Metro Manila to Calamba, Laguna in the South.

The project is broken down into three main packages and comprises a total of thirty-six (36) stations. Most of the NSCR project will be constructed as an elevated railway and will pass some very dense urban areas, especially in the cities of Valenzuela, Manila, Makati, Taguig and Paranaque. It also includes a 3.6 km underground tunnel which connects the Metro Manila Subway Project with NSCR at the new FTI Station and new Bicutan Station on the fringes of Metro Manila.

The project is receiving funding support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It can be noted that the south section of the NSCR project is ADB’s biggest infrastructure investment and shows ADB’s commitment to the Philippines.

Metro Manila Subway Project

The Metro Manila Subway Project (MMSP) comprises a thirty-six (36) km-long new subway with sixteen (16) stations connecting Valenzuela in the North of the metropolis with Terminal 3 of Ninoy Aquino International Airport and a possible extension to Paranaque City. It is the first mass underground transport system project in the Philippines.

The project is funded with support of JICA and several packages have been awarded already, while other packages are currently being procured or will be procured in the near future. Future phases of MMSP will comprise further extensions to the north and the south.

MRT Line 4

The Metro Rail Transit Line 4 is an approved monorail line of approximately sixteen (16) km with eleven (11) stations connecting Taytay in Rizal with North Domingo in Quezon City. The Spanish-based design firm IDOM Consulting Engineering, Architecture, SA has been appointed by the Department of Transportation to be tasked as the “detailed architectural and engineering design consultant” of the project. Their scope will include the preparation of inter alia MRT-4’s design and engineering, loan processing document and bidding documents. This project is also funded by ADB.

South Long Haul

The Philippine National Railways (PNR) South Long Haul Project (SLH) is an upcoming inter-city rail line in southern Luzon, Philippines. Contract Package 1 of the SLH will initially connect Banlic station in Calamba, Laguna and terminate at Daraga, Albay in the southern tip of Luzon. In the SLH’s masterplan the line will connect eventually to inter alia Matnog, Batangas and the Port of Manila. The SLH will serve both passengers and freight trains. The total approximate length of the SLH is an impressive 565 km connecting at least thirty-one (31) cities and towns.

The SLH is funded with financial support from China. Further renegotiations between the Marcos Administration and China are to be expected with regards to future SLH projects and contract packages.

Further information

The projects above are just some of the major infrastructure and railway projects that are planned in the Philippines. While the projects above are mostly focused on Metro Manila and Luzon, the Government of the Philippines have further rail projects planned for inter alia Cebu City and Davao City on the major southern islands of Cebu and Mindanao respectively.

The website of the Department of Transportation announces all publicly procured packages, including bid bulletins, bid addenda and notices of awards and provides much more detailed information about the Public Transportation projects throughout the Philippines.

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LHC Australia Committee member, Richard Baker, provides “The Lighthouse” with an update on some of his company’s rail projects.


The iconic City Rail Link is the largest single transport infrastructure project in New Zealand’s history and has been a vision for Auckland for nearly 100 years. The project is designed

to support the Government’s vision for an efficient, modern and sustainable transport network and create a pathway for Auckland to be the world’s most liveable city.

The project will transform public transport infrastructure within the Auckland CBD, doubling the capacity of the existing rail network, reducing travel time and easing congestion. Many of the benefits to the people of Auckland hinge on its delivery. It is critical that this high-profile project is delivered to time, cost and quality expectations.

The CRL project is the cornerstone of the recent $28 billion transport funding programme to unlock Auckland’s potential. Comprising a 3.4km underground passenger railway connecting Britomart station to the Western Line, two new underground stations (Aotea and Karangahape Road) and a rebuild of Mt Eden station; this critical, complex project has numerous inter-related risks and challenges that must be carefully managed to ensure its successful delivery.


Key elements include tunnels and caverns, difficult geotechnical conditions, systems assurance, critical design packages, and multifaceted stakeholder and interface management.

Our Role TSA Advisory (formerly Advisian CPA) and TYPSA has been engaged by the NZ Ministry of Transport and Auckland Council (The Sponsors) as the Sponsor’s Assurance Manager role on the City Rail Link project.

The role involves overall project assurance covering all phases and disciplines involved in the project delivery. In delivering these services TSA Advisory and TYPSA acts independently to provide fair, unbiased assessments in compliance with the relevant project requirements as to whether the Delivery Agencies (CRLL, Auckland Transport and KiwiRail) are meeting expectations and requirements.

We have combined the international capabilities of TSA Advisory (formerly Advisian CPA) as the lead with TYPSA to provide the requisite high quality, independent technical support. Collectively the team provides appropriate oversight for Sponsors that this highprofile project demands.


Canberra’s light rail project is an important part of the ACT Government’s vision to deliver a sustainable city as set out in The Canberra Plan (2008). TSA was appointed by Transport Canberra as the Commercial Manager for the project, overseeing the public–private partnership (PPP) from February 2016 until May 2018, when the team was re-structured.

The Project Director for Stage 1 from November 2015 (and from January 2017, Stage 2 also) joined TSA in April 2018, and continued to provide commercial and technical advice to the Stage 1 team 2 days per week until December 2018, and remains engaged on an ad hoc basis until opening in April 2019. Construction on Stage 1, a 12km route from the City to Gunghalin, commenced mid-2016 and opened April 2019.


Sydney Metro North West is the $8.3 billion Stage 1 of Sydney Metro which opened in 2019. With a metro train every four minutes during peak times, it includes 13 metro stations between Tallawong and Chatswood.

Three major contracts were awarded in 2013 and 2014 to deliver and operate Sydney Metro Northwest - Tunnels and Stations Civil works (TSC), Surface and Viaduct Civil works (SVC) and Operations, and Trains and Systems (OTS).

The $3.7 billion OTS operations contract was awarded to Northwest Rapid Transit in September 2014. This contract involves delivering eight new railway stations, 4000 commuter car parking spaces, Sydney’s new metro trains and upgrading the railway between Chatswood and Epping. It is the largest Public Private Partnership ever awarded in NSW.

TSA provided architectural assurance and technical services within OTS PPP Contract Implementation Group. Managing design review and quality for stations and buildings during design and construction stages, coordination between infrastructure JV contactor, systems JV contractor, operator and TfNSW internal stakeholders for quality architectural and product outcomes as part of Australia’s first automated metro system.

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The Metro Tunnel is one of the biggest transport projects in Victoria’s history and the most significant upgrade of Melbourne’s rail network since the opening of the City Loop in 1981.

It will create a new end-to-end rail line from Sunbury in the city’s western suburbs to Cranbourne-Pakenham in the south-east, adding capacity for more than a half a million extra passengers per week across Melbourne’s train network and slashing travel times by up to 50 minutes a day.

Taking these two busy lines out of the City Loop will free up space to run more trains more often on other lines across the rail network. The project is on track to open in 2025, a year ahead of schedule. It includes:

• twin nine-kilometre tunnels under Melbourne’s CBD and a next-generation signalling system

• five new underground stations at Arden (North Melbourne), Parkville, Town Hall and State Library in the CBD and Anzac (St Kilda Road).

Four tunnel boring machines (TBMs) – each more than 100m long and weighing 1,100 tonnes - finished 20 months of digging under Melbourne in mid-2021.

This incredible feat of engineering included tunnelling just 1.5m underneath the City Loop as trains continued to run, as well as digging 12 metres under the Yarra River bed and around seven metres below the Burnley Tunnel.

Work is progressing on the initial track layer of 4,000 concrete panels through the tunnels. The panels have been cast in 300 different shapes to account for the varying curvature and elevation of the twin nine-kilometre tunnels, winding from Kensington to South Yarra. This will create an even base to lay the near 40km of Australian-made rail on, ensuring it is properly aligned. The rail has arrived on freight trains in two deliveries over the course of the year – one at each of the tunnel entrances.

Starting in late 2022, workers will progressively clip the 165m lengths of steel to the concrete panels and weld them together to form a continuous line.Finally, a crucial component of operating the Metro Tunnel is High Capacity Signalling. This will mean fitting wireless communication equipment along

the tunnel to integrate with new signalling infrastructure on the Cranbourne, Pakenham and Sunbury Lines – allowing more trains, more often.

This is the first time in Australia that an existing rail network has been fitted with this next-generation signalling technology, which will function alongside the network’s existing ‘fixed block’ signalling. Once overhead power and signalling is installed in the tunnels and stations, along with more than 2km of platform screen doors, testing of Melbourne’s new fleet of bigger, more modern trains will begin in 2023.

A recruitment process has already begun to employ up to 120 new drivers needed to operate the Metro Tunnel train services. The recruits will undergo an intensive 44-week training program to ensure they’re ready to operate the 65 new and bigger trains that will run through the Metro Tunnel. Training will include a mix of classroom, practical and on-the-job, where the trainee drivers are accompanied by a trainer while operating passenger services.

The project’s five new stations will become new architectural landmarks for the city and feature artworks by world-class artists, including Australia’s Patricia Piccinini, whose work featured at the 50th Venice Biennale, and BAFTA award-winning Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer.

Work has also begun on Melbourne Airport Rail, which will link to the Metro Tunnel when it opens in 2029, giving passengers a journey of around 30 minutes from the airport to the CBD.

Feature 47

MTRCL’s use of NEC in Hong Kong

MTRCL has chosen to use NEC4 contracts for their new railway projects in Hong Kong

NEC Contracts is the world’s leading provider of collaborative contracts, promoting an ethos of clients, contractors and the supply chain working together, in stark contrast to many more adversarial approaches to contracting. NEC has been used in Hong Kong for over ten years on a wide variety of projects, including much of the public sector work and the 3rd runway at Hong Kong International Airport.

Since November 2016, the Hong Kong government has specified that the NEC contract suite is to be used for all future public works projects as far as practicable. The construction and engineering industries are therefore well versed with NEC principles and should help MTRCL in their smooth transition towards NEC’s collaborative contracting model.

NEC has also been used for rail projects in the United Kingdom such as The Channel Tunnel Rail Link and Crossrail, and is being used on High Speed 2 and for London Underground, providing a wealth of experience and case studies for the contracts application to high-value rail projects. There is the potential for collaboration across international borders to foster best practice throughout these works.'

Raymond Au, Principal Projects Commercial Manager-SCL at MTR Corporation, said that “MTRCL has adopted NEC4 forms of contracts for their new railway projects, and we are delighted to support that initiative, MTRCL chose NEC because NEC provides the collaborative project management practice with supporting contractual framework to achieve success of projects.”

Despite the existing built environment knowledge, deploying NEC in the rail sector will be a new challenge for the professionals and contractors working in Hong Kong. NEC is helping to develop their skills and understanding through the NEC Users’ Group events and helpline, as well as training and practitioner recognition through the Project Manager – and other –Accreditation programmes, which remain the Gold Standard for demonstrating NEC expertise.

The priorities for many of those operating in Hong Kong, including MTRCL, encompasses an increasing focus on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) ambitions. Just as industry is seeking progress in these areas, NEC has its own ongoing journey of improvement and does not stand still. Investing in sustainable infrastructure across the world is a challenge that crosses jurisdictional and sector boundaries. To this end, NEC has recently introduced Option X29 Climate Change that can be used as part of the contracts to incentivise sustainable development, leading to greater focus on one of the most important challenges currently facing the world. Advertorial48

Encouraging News from Manila as Covid recedes

Following the Covid-19 outbreak, Lighthouse Club Manila recommenced with the organisation of monthly social events from March 2022 onwards.

Happily, most countries are trying to adopt and slowly we are all trying to get back to a new normal. It also meant that after almost two years of lockdowns and restrictions with no gatherings and events, LHC Manila has had to build up its membership almost completely from nothing. It was, therefore, a very pleasant surprise that the first social event in March 2022 attracted over 50 attendees.

While in the Philippines, Metro Manila is still under Alert Level 1, the Club is able to organise social events now which will be held on every third Thursday of most months. You can follow social media and the website for the latest information.

Summer Soiree 2022

One of the bigger annual events, historically, is the Summer Soiree. This year we held the Soiree on Saturday 28 May 2022 at Enderun College, which is one of the best Culinary Arts, Hotel and Restaurant Management and Business Administration School located in Taguig City. The event included canapes, drinks, raffle prizes and live music. Thanks to all our members and friends, this evening was another great success in promoting fellowship in the construction industry and promoting our charitable assistance in the Philippines.

Pub quiz

On 21 July 2022, LHC Manila organised a pub quiz at the Manila Elks Club. The event was well attended by 35 pub quiz fanatics. After a long and close competition full of banter and laughter the winning team of the evening was team “No Idea” (Jeremy Plumley, Martina Plumley, Gordon Coyne and Bert de Munck). Following the success of the evening, all other teams and also new teams will have the opportunity to dethrone “No Idea” at the next Pub Quiz, which will be held on Thursday 20 October 2022 at the German Club.

Charitable Assistance

LHC Manila has always supported many students. The COVID-19 outbreak and subsequent lockdowns and closures of schools have been an even bigger challenge for our scholars and their families.

As a result, LHC Manila, with financial support from the LHC Asia Pacific Region Benevolent Trust and the LHC James Battersby Educational Trust, have provided our scholars with laptops and additional financial assistance.

Currently, LHC Manila is supporting 31 scholars with their education. We are glad to inform you that our scholars are doing well and advancing with their studies. Since LHC Manila is starting to build up membership and organising fundraising events again after a two year hiatus, we will investigate expanding our support to scholars from 2023 onwards.

The LHC Manila is also looking at broadening our educational support to build partnerships with vocational educational institutions. With many major infrastructure projects, both ongoing and in the pipeline in the Philippines, there is a long term necessity and opportunity for both graduate Engineers and Architects and, increasingly, for skilled labourers.

We are committed to contribute and assist underprivileged Filipinos who suffer from hardship and help them to achieve a better prospect for them and their families, while at the same time contributing to the growth of domestic skills.

Branch report – Philippines50
Branch report – Philippines 51

Australia is Growing


Brisbane brought back their “Curry Club” in July and also had an August networking event sponsored by Ranbury at “The Vino Bar” In Brisbane City.

September’s event was a huge turnout and was a networking event and presentation hosted again at “The Vino Bar”. The September event was sponsored by Costplan Group and was a shared event with AIQS YQS which included a presentation delivered by Rachel Yan, an assistant Quantity Surveyor and committee member for AIQS YQS. It was a great opportunity for young quantity surveying students and graduates to network with experienced Lighthouse Club members.

The Brisbane branch have monthly sponsored events lined up until the end of 2022 including a mixture of networking and CPD Events.


Our Sydney branch held a networking event in August which was a fantastic joint-sponsored event by Jones Day and WTP.

The Sydney September event was a fireside chat with Wayne Martin AC QC, Chief of Justice of Western Australia (20062018) on "The development of different mechanisms for resolving construction disputes in the Covid era." The event had a great turn-out, was moderated by Georgia Quick and was sponsored by Ashurst.

Branch report – Australia52


Perth have been extremely busy with events over the past few months.In May, Project Controls & Planning sponsored a networking event. They were followed by L&L Consulting who sponsored the July event.

In August the Perth branch were lucky enough to hear from Nicholas Ellery who spoke to attendees about the Workplace Health and Safety Act 2010. Also in August Perth ran the first Golf Day of the year. CCi sponsored the event. The winners were – Kevin Anderson and Matthew McNee (TBH)

Challenge 1 - Nearest to the tee - Vlada Lemaic (Clifford Chance)

Challenge 2 – Nearest to the tee - Allan Fett (Jawin)

Mark Boehm organised the golf day along with Alan Leonard.

Melbourne have been busy networking with events in April and August at Slate Restaurant, Melbourne. HFW kindly sponsored April’s event and CCi sponsored the August event.


We are excited to announce the launch of our South Australia branch led by Julia Dreosti from Clifford Chance. We are bringing our first event to Adelaide in November and look forward to sharing news on this new branch in our next magazine.

Branch report – Australia 53

Bangkok Newsletter

After a hiatus of two years, the Meinhardt Cup Golf Day returned with a bang. The competition between Lighthouse and Bangkok Amateur Golf Society (BAGS) was held in August at the Royal Lakeside Club outside Bangkok. Over 65 golfers attended and there were lots of prizes on offer. Overall, it was a fun day with the charity raising over THB 30,000 on the day. The Meinhardt Cup was won by the Lighthouse team thus retaining the cup for another year! A special thank you to Meinhardt for sponsoring the event.

Branch report – Thailand54
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Macau back in action


Club Macau was happy to return to our monthly function routine. Our last monthly get together was in May, but then a Covid outbreak hit Macau on 19 June and Macau went into a two-month lockdown with F&B and entertainment venues closed for nearly two months.

However, we waited patiently until restrictions were gradually lifted in August and we managed to hold a gathering on Wednesday 31 August. The event was generously sponsored by Min Da Construction & Engineering Company Limited at the Ritz Carlton Bar on 51. Min Da also donated lucky draw prizes.

Branch report – Macau56

It was great to see everyone catching up with colleagues and having an enjoyable evening.

Thanks go to the Ritz Carlton team and to the Lighthouse Club Committee members and other helpers who gave up their own time to ensure a successful event.

All proceeds go the Lighthouse Club Macau Benevolent Fund. We are now looking forward to our September event to be held on 14 September, sponsored by Tong Lei Engineering & Construction Company Limited.

Then in October we will be holding another monthly gathering on 12 October and the Annual Golf Day and Dinner on 14 October.

Branch report – Macau 57
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Lighthouse Club International Corporate

Silver Membership: Gold Membership: Bronze Membership: Corporate Members60
Members Membership of Lighthouse Club International is available by contacting the Membership Secretary at Corporate memberships are available at the following levels: Benefits include: • Corporate logo feature in “The Lighthouse” quarterly magazine • Logo displayed at all events organized by Lighthouse Club International and local branch events where nominees are based • Advertising discounts Individual membership is also available. Platinum Diamond Gold Silver Bronze Membership 61
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