TEN design contracts will initially be awarded by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corp (KCRC) for the controversial $75 billion Western Corridor Railway, according to details given to the South China Morning Post yesterday. The work covers preliminary engineering for tunnel and viaduct construction from the west Kowloon passenger terminal to border crossings at Lok Ma Chau and Lowu. The Post understands a further 20 orders will be awarded to plan signalling, communications and control equipment, fare collection, mechanical and electrical services and rolling stock. Bechtel, the giant American engineering firm which has done pre-project work for the KCRC, was unable to give details of the additional jobs. The Western Corridor is the territory's biggest ever rail project, dwarfing construction of the Mass Transit Railway (MTR) network. Six of the 10 contracts involve the design of tunnels, viaducts and stations along the 53.8 km rail route. Stations are proposed at Kam Tin, Lok Ma Chau, Yuen Long, Long Ping and Tin Shui Wai. Other stations are at Tuen Mun North, Tuen Mun Central, Tsuen Wan West, Mei Foo and Yen Chow Street. Work includes interchanges with the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and MTR systems. Also included are reclamation, relocation of ferry piers and demolition of an industrial estate in Tsuen Wan. The remaining four assignments involve 'system-wide planning' covering safety and risk assessment, computerised freight management of the port rail terminal, tunnel ventilation studies and interfaces with the Tuen Mun-Yuen Long LRT network. Bechtel estimates the cost of rail facilities including stations and depots at $25.3 billion; railway construction, including tunnelling, $27 billion; signalling and power supply, $4.4 billion; rolling stock, $4.3 billion; and financing, $7.5 billion. A reserve of $6.1 billion is earmarked to pay for inflation and other contingencies. Land costs which have not been included in the overall project figures are estimated at $5.4 billion. The project has already caused a storm of protest from legislators after Transport Secretary Haider Barma revealed the cost had trebled from the $25 billion initial esti-mate. Lands Department director Robert Pope added fuel to the fire last week when he admitted it would be impossible to complete land acquisition by the 1997 construction start date.