Peak Tram upgrade project; Peak Tram upgrade project;

Peak Tram upgrade project, Hong Kong

Designing for peak experience

Opened in 1888, the Peak Tram is one of the most historic and iconic tourist attractions in Hong Kong, transporting passengers from the Central district to Victoria Peak. To upgrade the existing tramway system and provide a better service for passengers, it underwent a major renovation, with an aim to increase the tramcar capacity while redeveloping the termini stations to improve the holding capacity and waiting environment.

In collaboration with architects AGC Design Ltd, Arup provided multidisciplinary design and engineering services for the upgrade project covering transport consulting, civil, structural and geotechnical engineering, from the initial planning and feasibility stage through to detailed design and construction supervision.

The Lower Terminus at Garden Road has been extended to provide covered, temperature-controlled arrival and waiting areas for over 1,000 passengers, with the 6th generation Peak Tram making its public debut in August 2022.

Project Summary

>1,000 passengers waiting area capacity

>70% increasein patronage capacity

~70% reductionin passenger waiting times

Preparing for peak demand

Before the pandemic, the Peak Tram’s popularity posed a great challenge as demand far exceeded capacity at peak times. We provided comprehensive boarding and alighting arrangements and queuing strategies based on surveys, video analytics and simulation modelling at both the Upper and Lower termini. Crowd management measures were proposed to enhance the level of service for passengers. We were able to optimise the queuing arrangements and space provision to cater for the increased tram capacity.

Peak Tram upgrade project - Waiting area Peak Tram upgrade project - Waiting area

The previous platforms within the St. John’s Building at the Lower Terminus have been re-aligned and relocated approximately 70m uphill. In return, the lower ground floor space within the existing building has been transformed into an extended new waiting area, providing visitors with an immersive audio-visual experience.

Enhancing the transit experience

Steel portal frames were installed to strengthen the existing structure while supporting the electrical and mechanical equipment including LED screens. Headroom has been maximised throughout for passengers’ visual experience while providing sufficient space to accommodate necessary equipment.

Between the new waiting and platform areas, approximately 40m long inclined moving walkways transfer passengers in a fully enclosed environment. The area is covered by a spiral-shaped portal roof which is aluminum-clad with bespoke skylights offering passengers glimpses of the surrounding urban skyline.

Ensuring safe and comfortable boarding

The platform structure was designed to accommodate docking devices, which supply conditioned air into the tramcar before boarding. To ensure passengers’ comfort, we optimised the design of the structure to integrate the docking devices and installations for the automatic screen gates which enhance passenger safety.

In addition, the design of the platforms have been engineered to incorporate the track alignment and steep gradient in conjunction with station planning requirements to ensure safety during operation and provide enhanced barrier free access. We closely liaised with the project team to ensure the precise setting-out and tolerance requirements were achieved during construction.

Simplifying construction complexity

As the layout of the Lower Terminus is situated within a congested urban environment with numerous constraints and limitations on access, we utilised digital tools and adopted a rationalised approach to the structural designs to aid the delivery of materials and constructability.

Steelwork solutions were carefully coordinated with other disciplines and simplified through standardisation of section members and connection details. Bolted splice locations were carefully planned and designed for ease of erection. Raft foundations were adopted where possible to avoid complex deep excavations and shorten the approval process and construction programme.

Preserving the history

The Peak Tram is surrounded by a number of historical structures and declared monuments. We performed careful structural appraisals prior to design development, and closely liaised with relevant government departments to develop structural designs with minimum impact.

The fence wall at the Lower Terminus is formed by a developed system of salvaged rails from the previous tram tracks with verified structural properties, which provides a sustainable solution for the security of the tramway while conveying the historical value to passengers.

Through careful planning and precise engineering, the reconfigured and expanded Lower Terminus offers visitors a dynamic and spectacular pre-boarding experience.

Peak Tram upgrade project - The Tram Peak Tram upgrade project - The Tram