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Old November 14th, 2010, 06:41 PM   #3041
hkskyline
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Opinion : Real green spaces could vanish under a tide of vinyl banners
12 November 2010
SCMP

We are losing our country parks to landfills while the MTR Corporation continues to expand the size of advertising space along station walls, on station floors and on the carriages of its trains.

Such space is covered in self-adhesive vinyl (often dozens of metres long) that, after a couple of weeks, is removed and sent to landfills.

Using vinyl, which has a huge environmental impact, is totally irresponsible and if the government were serious about waste reduction, it would discourage this form of advertising by imposing a waste disposal tax.

When will the real cost of advertising be calculated?

A waste disposal tax would force advertising agencies to switch to more creative and sustainable techniques.

I do not see anything creative in destroying the planet while trying to make us buy one brand rather than another.

A waste disposal tax would send a strong signal that the government is determined to reduce waste. But just how determined is it? It has not even managed to write a code of conduct for its own departments.

The East Asian Games comes to mind. The number of vinyl banners displayed in our city surpassed by far the number of spectators.

This could hardly be called a successful campaign. Undeterred, the administration continues to hang vinyl banners that add visual clutter to our streets, beaches and parks, and will inevitably end up in landfills.

Surely there are better ways to increase public awareness of the risks of, for example, drink-driving, drug abuse, dengue fever, encephalitis, rodent infestation and pickpockets, than covering the city in huge banners that will only start to decompose in 50 years' time.

Maybe these officials are unaware that vinyl PVC is a durable material that presents environmental concerns, both in its manufacture and disposal, and it should not be used as liberally as officials are doing.

The Urban Renewal Authority, responsible for the makeover of the Central Market, is just as oblivious to the necessity of reducing waste.

Here is an historic Bauhaus-style building that is far more environmentally-friendly in its design than most new buildings, and yet it was completely wrapped in green vinyl to create a "central oasis".

Has anybody ever seen an oasis made of plastic?

A vertical garden would have been a far more appropriate solution, and would have reduced pollution and indoor temperatures instead of adding to them.

Unless someone puts a stop to this vinyl fever soon, there will be no more green oases to escape to, as our country parks make room for waste disposal facilities.

Laura Ruggeri, Lamma
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Old November 26th, 2010, 05:00 PM   #3042
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Gazettal of Shatin to Central Link
Friday, November 26, 2010
Government Press Release Excerpt



The Government published in the Gazette today (November 26) the railway scheme for the Shatin to Central Link (SCL) in accordance with the Railways Ordinance.

The SCL is one of the major infrastructure projects announced by the Chief Executive in his Policy Address in October 2007.

The SCL will be a 17-kilometre long railway with a total of 10 stations at Tai Wai, Hin Keng, Diamond Hill, Kai Tak, To Kwa Wan, Ma Tau Wai, Ho Man Tin, Hung Hom, northern Wan Chai and Admiralty. The railway will run mostly underground and consist of two parts, namely the Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section, which is an extension of the existing Ma On Shan Line from Tai Wai to the West Rail Line via East Kowloon, and the Hung Hom to Admiralty Section, which is an extension of the existing East Rail Line from Hung Hom across the Harbour to Hong Kong Island.

The spokesman indicated that the SCL project will not only increase the capacity of the existing railways that carry passengers from Shatin to Kowloon and across the Harbour, but will also provide railway service to the new developments in Southeast Kowloon. The spokesman said, "The proposed railway line will serve the purpose of linking up the existing railway lines through the provision of six interchange stations, thus allowing a faster and more convenient interchange arrangement. Passengers will be able to travel from Tai Wai to Diamond Hill within five minutes and from Hung Hom to Admiralty also in about five minutes, as compared with 17 minutes for either of these journeys by using the existing railway lines."

"The Government and the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) have been conducting extensive public consultation since mid 2008. The concerned local stakeholders, including a total of 11 District Councils, were briefed on the proposed railway scheme. Roving exhibitions, public forums, school talks, and other public consultation activities have also been held to collect views and suggestions from the local communities. We have all along been striving to complete the design and statutory consultation process with an aim to commencing the construction works as soon as possible, and estimated at the time that the Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section and the Hung Hom to Admiralty Section could be completed in 2015 and 2019 respectively."

The spokesman said, "since the SCL is large in scale and runs through a number of local communities, many issues of public concerns are involved. We have therefore taken a longer time than expected to listen to and consider the views and suggestions of the local communities. We have included, as far as possible, the feasible suggestions of the local communities in the railway scheme gazetted today and expect that the statutory consultation process can be completed by early 2012. We will then make a funding application for the railway proposal at the soonest possibility, targeting for commencement of construction works in 2012. Since underpinning works may need to be carried out for the Tai Wai to Hung Hom Section so as to avoid resumption of private buildings, the railway works are expected to take six years to construct for completion in 2018. To dovetail with a series of infrastructural projects such as Wanchai Development Phase II and Central-Wanchai Bypass, the Hung Hom to Admiralty Section is expected to complete by 2020. While complying with the statutory procedures, we will continue to press ahead with the project for early start of construction and completion."

The spokesman said, "based on the current assessment, the estimated cost for the entire SCL project will be over $60 billion, which is higher than that of $38.2 billion announced in 2007. The reasons for the cost increase are multi-fold. In the past few years, the significant rise in construction material prices has caused the construction cost of the SCL project to increase by about 30%. In addition, we have included, where appropriate, suggestions by the public into the proposed railway scheme, thereby resulting in additional works at about $5 billion. Furthermore, in the course of the preliminary design, MTRCL had to revise the design to cope with the actual conditions such as ground investigation information, technical requirements and compliance with the existing fire safety requirements. The estimated cost for these modifications is about $7 billion."

The spokesman continued to say, "there are still a number of uncertainties in the cost for the SCL. As the detailed design of the alignment, site investigations and statutory consultation process are in progress, further changes may be required in the alignment design and facilities of the SCL project, which may result in a further increase in the cost of the works. When the scheme of the SCL project is finalised by early 2012, we will have a more accurate cost estimate. To carefully monitor the cost estimate, we will conduct an independent review on the cost estimate of the SCL project."

Once the proposed railway scheme is gazetted under the Railways Ordinance, the MTRCL will proceed with the detailed design and further planning of the project. The Government will continue to engage the public and will further explain to the District Councils and local communities on details of the proposed railway scheme. Under the Railways Ordinance, members of the public have the right to lodge objections to the railway scheme for the SCL from now until January 25, 2011. Any person who has a compensatable interest can claim compensation under the provisions of the Ordinance.

The scheme and the relevant plans are available for public inspection at the Public Enquiry Service Centres of the Central and Western, Wan Chai, Eastern, Southern, Yau Tsim Mong, Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin, Kwun Tong, Sai Kung, Sha Tin, Tai Po, and North District offices, and the District Lands Offices of Hong Kong East, Hong Kong West and South, Kowloon East, Kowloon West, Sha Tin, Tai Po, North, and Sai Kung, during office hours.

A copy of the Scheme and the Plans may be purchased from the Railway Development Office of the Highways Department. The electronic version of the Scheme and the Plans are viewable on the Highways Department's website (www.hyd.gov.hk/eng/major/road/rail/index.htm).
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Old November 28th, 2010, 07:14 PM   #3043
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Austin Station

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Old December 3rd, 2010, 09:45 AM   #3044
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Executive Council authorises South Island Line (East) Scheme
Government Press Release
Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Chief Executive in Council today ( November 30) authorised the South Island Line (SIL) (East) under the Railways Ordinance.

The SIL (East) is a seven-kilometre long railway that will provide domestic passenger services between Admiralty and South Horizons, with three intermediate stations near Ocean Park, and at Wong Chuk Hang and Lei Tung Estate. Passengers will be able to interchange at Admiralty for the existing MTR Island Line, Tsuen Wan Line and the future Shatin to Central Link. The SIL (East) will run in tunnels and viaducts according to topography.

"The SIL (East) will help reduce road traffic in the Southern District, particularly the Aberdeen Tunnel. With the SIL (East), passengers will be able to travel from South Horizons to Admiralty in about 10 minutes, as compared with 25 to 45 minutes by using road-based transport during rush hours," a government spokesman said.

"The SIL (East) will enhance the railway network on Hong Kong Island. It will not only save travelling time for residents of Southern District, facilitating tourism and commercial developments in the district, but also help improve connectivity of the commercial and industrial area in Wong Chuk Hang, thus revitalising and bringing along business opportunities to the area," he added.

"The Government and the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL) have proactively engaged the local community, including the Southern District Council, extensively in the last few years in formulating the railway scheme of the SIL (East). It has been the common desire of the local residents for the early implementation of this project,"the spokesman said.

The SIL (East) railway scheme was first gazetted on July 24, 2009 and amendments to the scheme were gazetted on June 4, 2010. Following receipt of objections, the Government and the MTRCL carefully studied the grounds of objections, met the objectors to explain the railway scheme and addressed their concerns. Changes to the SIL (East) scheme have been made as far as practicable in response to public views and some of the objections. Hearing sessions were conducted by non-official members of Railway Objections Hearing Panel on those objections not withdrawn. All unwithdrawn objections were submitted to the Executive Council for consideration.

"To continue effective communication with the community, the MTRCL, in the course of implementing the SIL (East), will establish community liaison groups comprising representatives of the concerned and affected parties, including owners' corporations, owners' committees, management offices, local committees and schools in the affected areas. The MTRCL will also have to comply with the conditions to be set out in the Environmental Permit by the Director of Environmental Protection to keep the disturbance to the environment to acceptable levels," he added.

The SIL is one of the major infrastructure projects the Chief Executive announced in his Policy Address in October 2007. Implementation of the SIL (East) will create 2,500 jobs during construction in the next few years and another 2,100 jobs during the operation stage.

"The SIL (East) will be implemented as an MTRCL project under the ownership approach. The cost estimate of the SIL (East) in 2006 prices was over $7 billion and the project was not considered as financially viable. Construction prices have escalated by about 55% from 2006 to 2009 due to the surge in construction material prices. Apart from this, refinement of the project details and amendments in the detailed design in response to public views and technical needs also account for the cost increase. According to the MTRCL's recent assessment in 2009 prices, the estimated construction cost of SIL (East) ranges from $12.3 billion to $12.6 billion.

"The MTRCL is finalising the detailed design of the rail project, which may entail final technical fine-tuning. This may have a minor impact on the project cost. We expect the final cost to be available in the first quarter of 2011. The Administration will continue close monitoring of the project expenditure and ensure MTRCL will exercise due diligence in budget control. We have also engaged an independent consultant to conduct an assessment of the project cost estimate and the funding gap," the spokesman added.

A site at the ex-Wong Chuk Hang Estate has been reserved for rail plus property development for the SIL (East). The proposed development requires rezoning of the ex-Wong Chuk Hang Estate site to "Comprehensive Development Area", which is being processed under the Town Planning Ordinance. The spokesman said that the Administration will carefully consider and scrutinise the MTRCL's development proposal and has engaged an independent consultant for assistance.

"We will give due consideration to ensure that the funding support is fair and reasonable, without affecting the prudent commercial principle in railway operation," the spokesman said.

Construction work for the SIL (East) is expected to commence in mid-2011 for completion in 2015.  
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Old December 4th, 2010, 06:15 AM   #3045
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Is the new rolling stock for the MTR going to appear sometime next year?
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Old December 12th, 2010, 06:21 PM   #3046
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Old December 15th, 2010, 05:57 AM   #3047
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These are the "made in China" trainsets?
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Old December 17th, 2010, 04:20 PM   #3048
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Income route urged on transport subsidies
The Standard
Friday, December 17, 2010

Lawmakers want the means test for new transport subsidies to be based on individual rather than household income.

But Secretary for Labour and Welfare Matthew Cheung Kin-chung said it is fairer to judge eligibility on the basis of total household income, rather than individual income.

The government Work Incentive Transport Subsidy Scheme will provide HK$600 a month to lower-income families that pass a means test on incomes and assets.

This will replace the Cross-district Transport Allowance, which evaluates applications on an individual basis.

However, the Legislative Council's panel on manpower unanimously passed a non-binding motion yesterday urging the government to accept applications on an individual basis, and to allow applicants working less than 72 hours a month to get the allowance on a pro-rata basis.

Nelson Wong Sing-chi of the Democratic Party said many who now get travel allowances may be left out under the new evaluation mechanism. " The scheme should be made more flexible to allow citizens to choose whether to apply as a family or individual," he said.

Wong Kwok-hing of the Federation of Trade Unions pointed out that a couple earning HK$6,000 a month each can apply for the existing scheme, but not if they are registered as a household, for which the limit is HK$8,500.

But labor chief Cheung said the "new format will benefit all workers, including the self-employed," and also prevent abuse.

"The [individual-based] eligibility criteria would be too loose as one family member can transfer assets to another in order to pass the means test," Cheung said.

He pledged that the Labour Department will keep the procedure simple to boost the scheme's user-friendliness.

Legco will hold a public hearing on the scheme in January. If funding is approved on January 28, workers may start applying for the subsidies in the third quarter.

Meanwhile, a number of concern groups demonstrated outside Legco saying the new conditions are too harsh.
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Old December 17th, 2010, 07:45 PM   #3049
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Old December 18th, 2010, 11:02 AM   #3050
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Rock Band Rocking on Iphone LIVE on MTR Train!


So envious that young people can do everything they want without hesitation, but unfortunately, I'm no longer a teenager.






MTR song

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Last edited by Kaitak747; December 18th, 2010 at 11:10 AM.
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Old December 19th, 2010, 07:17 PM   #3051
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kaitak747 View Post


...and I thought Singapore's situation was bad.

Compare:

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Old December 26th, 2010, 09:17 PM   #3052
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KONE Press Release
KONE wins an order for Hong Kong metro extension
22/12/2010

KONE has won an order to supply 37 elevators, 41 escalators and five autowalks on the West Island Line railway extension in Hong Kong.

"We are very proud that MTR Corporation has chosen KONE for this key extension to the world-class Hong Kong transport system. KONE has worked with MTR for many years and we are happy to further extend our partnership based on mutual trust and shared values regarding safety, quality, service and environmental awareness," says Noud Veeger, EVP and Area Director of KONE Asia Pacific.

The West Island Line (WIL) is a three-kilometer-long railway extension of the existing MTR Island line encompassing three underground stations on Hong Kong Island. KONE will install the solutions at the WIL stations from 2012 to 2014. KONE currently maintains 900 elevators and escalators in the existing MTR network.
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Old December 29th, 2010, 12:55 PM   #3053
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
KONE Press Release
KONE wins an order for Hong Kong metro extension
22/12/2010

KONE has won an order to supply 37 elevators, 41 escalators and five autowalks on the West Island Line railway extension in Hong Kong.

...(omitted)
As far as I know, this is the first time MTR installs autowalks in non-interchange station.
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Old December 31st, 2010, 04:07 AM   #3054
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End of the line nears for MTRC `driver' Chow
30 December 2010
The Standard

MTR Corp chief executive Chow Chung-kong said yesterday he will retire when his contract expires at the end of next year.

``I have been working non-stop for 38 years and have missed some of life's wonderful times ... it's time for me to decelerate and enjoy life,'' Chow, 60, said.

He said the major milestones in his seven-year tenure were the MTRC merger with the other half of the Hong Kong rail duopoly _ the Kowloon- Canton Railway Corporation _ and the start of construction on five new lines.

Chairman Raymond Ch'ien Kuo- fung described Chow as a ``world-class CEO'' for transforming the company into a much bigger corporation with significant presence in the mainland and overseas.

``[Chow] has led the company to expand outside Hong Kong to operating metro lines in Beijing and Shenzhen, with other rail franchise operations in Melbourne, London and Stockholm,'' Ch'ien said.

Since Chow took over, MTRC shares have risen more than 170 percent, compared with an 84 percent increase in the Hang Seng Index.

The market capitalization of the railway operator - 76 percent owned by the government - was HK$165 billion last month, almost three times the figure in 2007, Ch'ien said.

The company has yet to name a replacement.

There has been speculation that finance and business development director Lincoln Leong Kwok-kuen may be the next chief. Leung steps down as Octopus Cards' non-executive chairman at the end of the year.

But a spokesman for the subway operator said it will immediately commence a worldwide search to identify the right candidate.

Chow's retirement gratuity will be released in the company's annual report in the coming year.

A chartered engineer born in Hong Kong, he was knighted by Britain's Queen Elizabeth in 2000 for his contribution to the industry.

Chow, who is also a non-executive director of the AIA Group and mining company Anglo American, said he plans to spend more time on matters of both companies and also in public service next year.

He is a board member of the Community Chest and a member of the council at Chinese University.
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Old January 16th, 2011, 06:59 PM   #3055
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MTR pushes new safety door plan: but who pays?
14 January 2011
SCMP

The MTR Corp wants to install safety doors on its East Rail line and the new Sha Tin to Central link at the same time, saying this will save money and help overcome technical difficulties.

But it says it will try not to charge passengers a levy for the work, as was done on other parts of the network, and will not use any of the budget for the HK$60 billion new line to pay for it, leaving questions about where the money will come from.

Lawmakers reacted angrily to suggestions the government should pay, saying the MTR was earning enough to pay for its own work.

In a paper prepared for legislators - backed by the Transport and Housing Bureau - the MTR suggested the installation could be done in tandem with the Central line, which will link to East Rail and use the same doors and related equipment.

MTR chief operations officer for engineering Morris Cheung Siu-wa said yesterday this option would cost a lot less, but he did not know yet what the actual cost would be.

Cheung said technical issues related to fitting the East Rail doors as a stand-alone project could take 10 years to overcome. The project would require a new signalling system, new trains, new ways to fill the platform gaps, and redesigns of the platforms' structure and ventilation systems, he told a media briefing.

As a separate project, the work would overlap at the sites for the two projects, causing delays to one or the other, and creating waste. But as the new line would use the same equipment, working on the two projects together would save a lot of money.

In a reply to the paper, the bureau said doing the two jobs in tandem was a sensible and cost-effective approach. Cheung said the corporation would discuss the cost of the East Rail work with the government.

Independent lawmaker Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said platform screen doors were an important part of the MTR's services, but he did not think the MTR should take money from the government. "They earned a lot last year and are still try to get money from us," he said. "This is awful. We are already paying for the existing doors until 2017."

MTR began charging 10 HK cents from each Octopus card user in July 2000 to fund the construction of platform screen doors at 30 underground stations and eight above-ground stations. By the middle of last year it had collected HK$775 million and, based on its patronage figures, it is expected the collection will last until 2017.

In 2008, it spent HK$300 million on platform screen doors at eight above-ground stations, at an average cost of HK$32.5 million per station.

Democrat lawmaker Wong Sing-chi said the MTR was using the East Rail line to threaten Legco and gain support for the Sha Tin Central line. "This is unethical," he said. "Screen doors must be covered by the MTR totally. Also, this is a way for them to show passengers they care. They should do it as soon as possible, and do it separately."

Greg Wong Chak-yan, a veteran civil engineer who helped build the urban line some 30 years ago, said a large part of the cost went on the alteration and building of signalling, mechanical and pressure loading systems.

"If such systems were to be built one way or another, adding a platform screen door should add just a tiny portion of extra costs," he said.

The Sha Tin-Central link - the city's fourth cross-harbour railway - will connect the people of East Kowloon and the Northeast New Territories to Hong Kong Island. Work on the line will begin in 2012 at an estimated cost of more than HK$60 billion, rather than the HK$38.1 billion projected in 2007.

That would make the 17km line almost as expensive as the HK$66.9 billion, 26km high-speed railway from Hong Kong to Guangzhou. And the cost could go higher.

Last week, lawmakers from across the political spectrum voted to delay funding for the link, saying it was too expensive. Some also objected to taxpayers being asked to foot the bill for the line's construction when the MTR Corporation would reap the revenue.

But Wong said the funding was likely be passed late this month or early February.
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Old January 17th, 2011, 07:53 PM   #3056
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Disabled take aim at MTR, buses
The Standard
Monday, January 17, 2011

Equality chief Lam Woon-kwong has accused MTR Corp and franchised bus companies of tardiness in upgrading facilities for the handicapped.

A number of MTR stations are yet to be equipped with lifts or wide gates, Lam noted, and urged bus operators to quickly replace old vehicles with wheelchair-accessible low-floor ones.

"MTR Corp plans to spend more than HK$60 billion on constructing its Sha Tin to Central link but has not put any priority on improving accessibility for the disabled," he said.

Such facilities are important not only for the disabled but also the elderly who need step-free access, he said yesterday at an event for Community Development Initiative, which urges a friendlier transport service for the territory's 438,300 mobility- disabled people.

Wheelchair users often have to reserve trips on the government-subsidized specially adapted vehicle Rehabus, which has a waiting list of at least three months.

A spokesman for MTR Corp said the absence of facilities at some stations is due to technical constraints.

The company will be improving access at eight stations in a renovation project due to begin soon.
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Old January 18th, 2011, 06:41 PM   #3057
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Mainland set for urban rail building frenzy
17 January 2011
SCMP

The central government has budgeted 1.2 trillion yuan (HK$1.41 trillion) to build metro rail systems from 2011 to 2015, but there are fears the huge cost could blow out amid efforts to relocate residents for the works.

Sun Ning, deputy general manager of the China Academy of Railway Sciences Engineering Consulting, said the money would be spent building 2,200 kilometres of rail lines in 16 cities, almost tripling the existing 1,400 kilometres of urban rail. The cities include Hangzhou, Suzhou, Wuxi, Changsha, Kunming, Harbin and Changchun.

"China has become the largest railway market in the world," Sun said. Analysts predict China will overtake the US to have the world's biggest urban rail network by 2012.

The spending is a huge leap from the mainland's investment in urban railway from 1995 to 2008 of about 140 billion yuan, according to Beijing Huaxinjie Investment (BHI) Consulting, a transport consultancy firm.

Speaking at the China RailWorld Summit in Beijing last week, Sun said the 1.2 trillion yuan budget would be entirely borne by the local governments of the 16 cities.

The budget included money earmarked for compensation for residents who would have to move to make way for the new rail lines, Sun added.

But a mainland official said the cost was likely to rise mainly because of bargaining with local officials over the compensation and partly due to corruption.

Money allocated for compensation for residents is entrusted to local officials, the official said. "Corruption exists in China, and some local officials may keep some of the money for themselves. I realise there are problems moving people. This is a systemic problem," the official said.

In some cities, attempts to move residents for construction have resulted in demonstrations and political activism. In Shanghai in 2007, residents fearing eviction went so far as to write to German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel asking for her support in their fight to stop the extension of the magnetic levitation (maglev) train.

Sun said inflation, as well as rising labour and material costs would contribute to a bigger budget. "But this is not a worry because returns will also increase," Sun said.

Local governments financed metro rail networks from their fiscal revenues, which largely depended on land sales and property development, Sun said.

"Urban rail will bring business opportunities to the cities and their property markets will rise. This is a virtuous cycle."

He said that building a rail line would increase the value of the property in the surrounding area, which would boost local government revenues. Sun cited a study of Beijing's Line 13, which found the value of the surrounding property rose from 3,000 yuan per square metre when the line started operation in 2003 to 7,000 yuan in 2010.

Sun said that while the 1.2 trillion yuan investment looked huge, it was manageable for the 16 cities when spread over a five-year period, because it meant an average budget of 15 billion yuan for each city every year. That figure was on average equivalent to roughly 10 per cent of a city's GDP, Sun said.

Most of the 16 cities can afford to build the metro rail systems, but Sun admitted that some of the poorer centres could have problems financing their rail works.

"There may be funding difficulties for some local governments. In that case, construction may slow down."

Lee Kang-kuen, the head of Hangzhou projects at MTR Corp, Hong Kong's metro rail operator, said third-tier cities might not have enough funds to finance the rail networks on their own.

Lee said that amid rapid rollout of urban rail systems the mainland was facing a challenge obtaining engineering expertise, financing and people to operate the rail services. "In these three respects, smaller cities need outside help. I don't know how they can get outside help."

The MTR Corp's resources were too limited to allow it take part in many cities' rail projects, Lee said. "We like to focus on a few cities."

The MTR Corp operates Line 4 and the Daxing line in Beijing, as well as Line 4 in Shenzhen. It hoped to win a 20-year concession to operate Line 1 in Hangzhou through a joint venture, Lee said. The venture, which is awaiting approval from the central government, is 51 per cent owned by the Hangzhou government and 49 per cent by the MTR Corp.

"At the moment, in most mainland cities, the market share of railways is not enough," Fred Brown, from the Hong Kong branch of MVA, a British transport consultancy, said. He said rail accounted for five to 10 per cent of the transport in some mainland cities, far below levels in developed cities like London, Tokyo and Hong Kong.
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Old January 20th, 2011, 01:38 PM   #3058
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Old January 20th, 2011, 06:46 PM   #3059
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Tung Chung Line services hit by crack in track
The Standard
Thursday, January 20, 2011



MTR services on the Tung Chung Line were disrupted for almost two hours by a hairline crack in the track.

Officials believe damage to the rail may have been caused by the recent cold spell.

Management were alerted after a signaling system showed "something erratic" along the tracks between Sunny Bay and Tsing Yi stations at about 6.45am yesterday.

Technicians checked the track and found the crack near Sunny Bay station. Drivers were instructed to slow to 5 kilometers per hour until temporary repairs were carried out by 8.40am.

The damaged section of the track was due to be replaced last night.

During the disruption, train frequencies from Tsing Yi to Tung Chung stations were reduced to 12 minutes from the normal eight minutes, an MTR spokeswoman said.

She added the crack was not discovered during visual and ultrasonic testing that took place on Sunday and at the end of last month, respectively.

Persistent cold weather in recent weeks may have led to the damage, said the chairman of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers registration board, Peter Wong Yiu-sun.

The crack may have emerged during thermal expansion or contraction, Wong added.

"The crack may have been too small to be discovered during the ultrasonic testing, but recent weeks of persistent cold weather may have caused it to enlarge."

He did not think it would have posed a serious danger to train services.

"Usually, such defects can be found before becoming a safety threat since the signal system will issue an alert if something's wrong with the track."

Democratic Party transport spokesman Wong Sing-chi said: "MTR Corp should review its maintenance system to gain customers' confidence. Such incidents will damage the image of the MTR."

Undersecretary for Transport and Housing Yau Shing-mu said the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department will investigate the incident and MTR Corp has been told to submit a report.
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Old January 22nd, 2011, 06:41 AM   #3060
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Watchdog backs MTR carriages for women
22 January 2011
South China Morning Post

The equal opportunity watchdog has given qualified backing to women-only carriages on the MTR as the number of groping incidents continues to rise.

Police figures show that complaints regarding groping are on the rise. The number of reports went up from 98 in 2006 to 110 in 2009, and there were 126 such reports in the first 10 months of last year. The number of reports of people taking upskirt photos also rose from 67 in 2006 to 80 in 2009, and 75 for the first 10 months of 2010.

The MTR Corporation has resisted the idea of women-only carriages, citing possible service delays, difficulties in enforcement, and concerns that the move could breach sex discrimination laws which protect men and women.

In a paper presented at yesterday's Legislative Council transport panel subcommittee meeting, the rail operator said: "Questions such as why would male passengers be refused the equal services offered to female passengers and should male-only compartments be provided so as to ensure both sexes are treated equally would arise."

Dr Jacob Kam Chak-pui, the MTR's operations director, also told the subcommittee that women-only carriages were not common on most of the world's major railways.

Legislators called the corporation inconsiderate. Lau Kong-wah, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said he appreciated there could be problems, "but why do we not give it a try first and see what problems actually arise? We should not give up the idea just because of some possible operational issues."

The subcommittee passed a non-binding motion calling on the MTR to operate women-only compartments on a trial basis.

A spokesman for the Equal Opportunities Commission said: "Our initial view is that if the MTR can justify this - say, if it is for the prevention of crimes - then it should not be regarded as an infringement of the Sex Discrimination Ordinance."

Some other big cities have adopted women-only carriages. Japan has a long history of them, and they are being adopted in India, Indonesia, Dubai, Brazil, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Egypt.

The subcommittee also endorsed a motion calling on the MTR to build platform screen doors as soon as possible at stations on the East Rail and Ma On Shan lines. The MTR, however, argued that technical limitations, especially in the signalling system, would make the installation of such safety doors cost-ineffective.

The company wants to build screen doors on the platforms of stations of its East Rail Line and the future Sha Tin to Central Link at the same time in order to save money and help overcome technical difficulties.
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