Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese Email this article
Counter-proposal for Express Rail Link not feasible

     In response to media enquiries about the handling of a counter-proposal for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) submitted by a community group last week, a Transport and Housing Bureau spokesman said today (October 16) that having studied the group's counter-proposal and having met its members, a clear conclusion could be drawn that the counter-proposal was not feasible in concept, design, engineering and operation.  It would therefore not be accepted or further pursued.

     "The Hong Kong section of the XRL is an essential transport infrastructure with strategic significance in maintaining Hong Kong's competitiveness and long-term development.  By hooking up with the national high-speed rail network, the rail enhances accessibility between Hong Kong and a dozen major Mainland cities, reducing the travelling time from Hong Kong's city-centre to those of Beijing and Shanghai to about 10 hours or less.  It will significantly narrow regional distances and foster economic activities and social integration," he said.

     The spokesman said planning and formulating proposals for such an important project involved expertise in various areas and required detailed studies, repeated assessments and thorough consideration.

     "The group's idea is very preliminary without any supporting  feasibility study.  It is based on connecting a small section of the cross-boundary express rail to the domestic rail network.  This fails to meet the fundamental concept and standard of the express rail," he said.

     Some fundamental problems of the counter-proposal include the following:

1)   Locating the terminus at the northwestern part of the New Territories means that commuters have to switch for the domestic rail link before they can reach the city centre.  The failure to provide the convenience of direct connection between city centres will greatly reduce the attractiveness of the project.

2)   Shared use of existing rail tracks of the Tung Chung Line and Airport Express Rail to provide transfer for cross-boundary passengers will seriously undermine the capacity of these two links to meet future growth in passenger demand resulting from the development of the airport and the opening of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge, to the detriment of the overall development of the rail network.

3)   About 500 households will be affected by resumption or clearance if the terminus and related facilities are to be located at Kam Sheung Road, more than three times the existing number of Choi Yuen Tsuen households affected by the Government's proposal.

4)   There is a grave under-estimation of the construction cost in the absence of concrete data to back up the counter-proposal's estimate and design.

5)   There is a lack of feasibility studies of the most basic type in the face of several obvious technical problems.

6)   The project will be delayed for at least three years, the time of resolving the technical problems not included, since all planning procedures have to start afresh.

     The spokesman said that the Government's proposal for the Hong Kong section of the XRL project was the result of years of discussion and study by the Administration in conjunction with the Legislative Council and professionals, adding that it had obtained the general support of the community and was already at the final planning stage.

     "The project should be implemented as soon as possible to maximise the benefits.  We will submit detailed information to the Legislative Council soon to seek funding approval so that the construction can start before the end of 2009 as scheduled," he said.

Ends/Friday, October 16, 2009
Issued at HKT 20:08


Print this page