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Old February 7th, 2014, 04:16 AM   #3461
hkskyline
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HK2: why Transport for London is looking to the Hong Kong Metro for inspiration
There’s a 99.9% good service on the Hong Kong Metro so no wonder TfL’s bosses are looking to the East. Andrew Neather goes underground in China to find out what makes the trains run on time
3 February 2014
(c) 2014 Evening Standard Limited.

The eastbound platform of Shau Kei Wan metro was eerily empty at 1.35am as the repair crew moved into position. Where less than 20 minutes earlier Hong Kong’s endless crowds had still been on the move, now just 13 men in hard hats started the night’s work. Minutes later we stood in the tunnel in the glare of arc lights.

Engineers cut out a 71-metre section of rail that was showing signs of wear. Amid shouted Cantonese instructions they lowered a new rail into place. Then welders crouched over the new joins between sections. Melting metal into a mould — “aluminothermic welding" — they welded the ends together and precision-ground the new rail in a shower of sparks. Within two hours of starting, we were back on the platform. The first morning train, hours later, would run smoothly and safely.

All underground rail systems, including London’s, have to perform similar night-time maintenance. But Hong Kong’s does it faster and more intensively than almost anywhere — with no weekend closures.

That is why London Underground bosses have been studying the methods of MTR, the company that runs the Hong Kong metro, as they prepare for the greatest leap for our network: 24-hour Tubes. This, confirms London Underground managing director Mike Brown, is the challenge: run trains day and night at weekends, as Transport for London will from next year, and all maintenance on those lines will have to be squeezed into a few hours over Monday-Thursday nights.

The Hong Kong metro is in a sense London’s twin. The first lines were constructed under British rule in the Seventies and the first drivers trained in London. A number of senior MTR staff have spent time in London, including American chief executive Jay Walder, TfL’s director of finance and planning from 2001 to 2007.

And MTR is in London, co-running London Overground with Arriva since 2007. It has also made the shortlist of bidders to run Crossrail: a decision will be made late this year, with services starting on some sections from May 2015 (MTR already operates metros in Beijing, Melbourne and Stockholm).

That success is in large part due to MTR’s enviable safety and efficiency record. Its target is a “99.9 per cent service", one where just one journey in 1,000 faces a delay of more than five minutes. Any such delay triggers an independent investigation and a report on remedial action.

During rush hour trains run every 106 seconds (London’s Victoria line now runs at similar frequency). Pressure to keep the crowds moving is high. As acting operations director Adi Lau points out, if there is 10-second delay in closing the doors at each station on one line, that adds around two-and-a-half minutes to the train’s total time — effectively meaning at least one fewer train (5,000 passengers) an hour.

In the new Operations Control Centre at Tsing Yi station, controllers direct the network, with trains’ progress displayed on a vast screen that wraps around the whole of one side of the room (the Tube’s new control rooms, like the Northern line one in East Finchley, look similar — just a lot smaller). Any incident delaying a train sets large red digital timers at the top of the screen running: as I watched, a passenger was taken ill on the Island Line and the clocks started counting. Immediately, controllers, the driver and station staff communicated to get medical help. The train was moving again in two minutes 35 seconds.

Yet Hong Kong achieves these levels of reliability despite even heavier use than the Underground. There are 5.1 million journeys a day on the Hong Kong metro, plus another 500,000-odd on its light rail system in the New Territories, against around 4.2 million on the Tube on weekdays. And that is over a much smaller network — 218km of track, against the Tube’s 402km.

Hong Kong manages this partly through a ferocious culture of continuous improvement, such as that used to tackle delays. It also spends a lot — HK$5 billion (£400 million) a year — on maintenance and repairs alone.

That it can afford to do so is thanks to another factor being studied enviously by TfL: a funding mechanism that leaves the Hong Kong system needing no operational subsidy (in fact, MTR generates a surplus of HK$5.1 billion a year for the Hong Kong government). This is despite low fares: most central journeys cost only around HK$10 — about 80p.

The key is MTR’s Rail + Property scheme. This exploits the fact that the freehold to much land in Hong Kong is government-owned: MTR has to buy leaseholds at market rates but is then gifted development rights. It thereby effectively captures the increase in the land’s value resulting from a new metro station via the deals it extracts from developers of new housing, offices and malls over and around the line.

These deals give MTR a share of profits, assets in kind, or a combination. They are immensely complicated engineering and commercial operations that bring together the planning of multi-level stations and lines — sometimes on land reclaimed from the sea — together with the construction of malls and skyscrapers overhead. Thus in return for development rights for the 88-storey International Financial Centre tower over Central station, completed in 1998, MTR took 18 floors of the building: “A very good investment," smiles MTR’s head of town planning, Steve Yiu.

Such deals have also left MTR owning 13 shopping malls. Almost half the company’s revenue now comes from property rental and development.

“They are the leader in this," says Mike Brown. “We’re clearly not as sophisticated as them yet." TfL now plans to increase its property-based revenues by half by 2018, with initiatives such as new retail ventures. It also hopes to extract a new level of development income from Crossrail and the Battersea Northern line extension.

But MTR goes further: it is an integral part of the planning of Hong Kong’s expansion, as Yiu’s job title implies. As he puts it: “A railway line is not just a transport facility, it’s an instrument to restructure a city." Hong Kong’s population, now seven million, is growing at around half a million a decade. Whole new towns are being constructed around metro lines, such as at LOHAS Park in the east: 21,000 flats to house 58,000 people, all of them in towers dozens of storeys high.

“The choice of Hong Kong people is to go up, not out," says Liu. “Overlooking is not a problem," he adds, a little hopefully.

MTR’s five new lines under planning or construction — 56 kilometres in all — are the backbone of such projects. Projects director TC Chew, another London veteran, enthuses about plans, including a new high-speed link to the Chinese mainland. This is perhaps Hong Kong’s biggest challenge: how it exploits its proximity to the booming cities of southern China without being eclipsed by them. Some 65 million people live in the major cities of the Pearl River delta alone. When the new line is extended into the mainland, downtown Guangzhou (Canton) will be just one hour 15 minutes from Kowloon by bullet train.

Yet hard as it is to believe in the teeming streets of Mong Kok or Causeway Bay, London faces even greater challenges of growth. There are already 8.3 million Londoners, with a million being added each decade, and with greater pressure of longer-distance commuters than in Hong Kong. In the long term, projects such as Crossrail and Tube upgrades will essentially do no more — at best — than keep the system running on the spot. Indeed, current projections show chronic overcrowding starting in as little as 15 years’ time.

We will need to squeeze more capacity out of even an expanded network. Might the Hong Kong metro be a vision for the future of the Tube?

It’s impressive and there’s much to learn. Still, the overwhelming impression of Hong Kong rush-hour is simply the vast crush of people: every station is like Oxford Circus at 6pm but with the crowds filling far bigger concourses and platforms — and at least half of them on mobiles or tablets. (There is a 4G signal throughout the network: such is commuters’ absorption in their handhelds that announcements warn people to stop looking at their phones while on escalators.)

London will no doubt be the same in 10 years’ time: more crowded, for more of the day, on more of the network —and with half of any carriage on the phone. We will have to adapt our travel patterns as we did during the Olympics. The whole system will feel more tightly geared. But in the early 21st century, that looks like being the price of keeping a great world city moving.

Andrew Neather flew to Hong Kong with British Airways. Its twice-daily service from Heathrow uses the new A380 aircraft: ba.com.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 06:20 AM   #3462
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Originally Posted by Silly_Walks View Post
They will supposedly increase the train per hour... but still capacity will be less than before.
Yes, there is a signaling upgrade to allow running more trains, but the 9-car formation is actually 8+1 ... the first-class compartment is still in place. There is no indication that the intercity trains will move out of the tracks when HSR opens in 2015, so there is much doubt in the actual capacity after switching to 9-car trains. MTR claims that about 25% of southbound traffic from East and North New Territories will switch to the East West Corridor once it opens.
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Old February 7th, 2014, 08:13 PM   #3463
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With the growth of Hong Kong's new towns and the extension into Central, I don't think the reduction of cars is is a good idea.
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Old February 8th, 2014, 01:21 AM   #3464
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I agree whole heartedly with you, but there is one thing that I think is a good outcome out of this.

With 12 car trains, exit/entrances to platforms must exist throughout the entire length of the platform to ensure smooth pedestrian flow. With shorter trains, you need less exits, thus in theory you should be able to move more people per hr.
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Old February 8th, 2014, 05:34 PM   #3465
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That's not the problem since all the passengers who have got off are able to leave the station before the next train arrives.
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Old February 8th, 2014, 09:22 PM   #3466
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Originally Posted by cal_t View Post
I agree whole heartedly with you, but there is one thing that I think is a good outcome out of this.

With 12 car trains, exit/entrances to platforms must exist throughout the entire length of the platform to ensure smooth pedestrian flow. With shorter trains, you need less exits, thus in theory you should be able to move more people per hr.
There really is not much of an advantage to the new setup other than decreasing the size the stations need to be in Central and the extreme curves in the stations on the ERL will be straightened; All for a lower capacity line. Well I guess proposal for the extension of the Kwun Tong line beyond Whampoa to Hong Kong island is now a lot stronger.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 05:38 PM   #3467
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Originally Posted by saiho View Post
There really is not much of an advantage to the new setup other than decreasing the size the stations need to be in Central and the extreme curves in the stations on the ERL will be straightened; All for a lower capacity line. Well I guess proposal for the extension of the Kwun Tong line beyond Whampoa to Hong Kong island is now a lot stronger.
The 5HC (5th Harbour Crossing) is not on the drawing board of last year's "Our Future Railway" consultation, so the chance of getting it built around 203x is still very slim.
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Old February 10th, 2014, 05:03 AM   #3468
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The 5HC (5th Harbour Crossing) is not on the drawing board of last year's "Our Future Railway" consultation, so the chance of getting it built around 203x is still very slim.
Well plans change. Given that the SCL will not have as much monster capacity to relieve the Tsuen Wan Line. The reduction capacity in the north can be shouldered by the new EWL tunnels. However the new harbor crossing will have to shoulder traffic both from the ERL and the new traffic transferring from east Kowloon on the EWL all while relieving the Tsuen Wan Line. IMHO the urgency fro more capacity will arrive sooner rather than later.

Last edited by saiho; February 10th, 2014 at 05:08 AM.
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Old February 10th, 2014, 07:58 AM   #3469
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Well plans change. Given that the SCL will not have as much monster capacity to relieve the Tsuen Wan Line. The reduction capacity in the north can be shouldered by the new EWL tunnels. However the new harbor crossing will have to shoulder traffic both from the ERL and the new traffic transferring from east Kowloon on the EWL all while relieving the Tsuen Wan Line. IMHO the urgency fro more capacity will arrive sooner rather than later.
But according to the estimates given in the last consultation, the "average train loadings" of all cross harbour routes maintain at or lower than 60%, so in the authorities' view there is no need for the 5HC.

http://www.ourfuturerailway.hk/index.html?l=us&p=002

The Legco has released a research brief on the crowdedness of trains. It seems they are seeking an updated way to measure the train loadings.

http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr13-14/engl...1314rb04-e.pdf
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Old February 15th, 2014, 06:14 AM   #3470
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Looking to Hong Kong
15 February 2014
Bangkok Post

To make urban rail projects work profitably, town planners need detailed studies of the ideas of others

Building urban railways is a costly exercise although it does not always have to burn a hole through the developerâ's pocket.

Amid concern about the finances for urban rail development in Bangkok and its surrounding areas, the Hong Kong business model can be considered as an option to pursue.

Mass Rapid Transit Authority (MRTA) governor Yongsit Rojsrikul addressed the issue during a tour of the territory’s mass transit rail system, reputed to be one of the most efficient in the world, late last month.

Hong Kong operates 11 electric rail lines spanning 218.2 kilometres and serving as many as 5.1 million commuters per day during the week.

The listed MTR Corporation (MTRC) is authorised by the Hong Kong government to manage the railway system and property development around train stations.

Apart from the rail business, the MTRC earns revenues from renting out its land around the stations to shopping stores and developers of residential estates.

The MTRC revenue has shown strong growth over the years. The firm’s revenue tripled to HK$33.4 billion (138.6 billion baht) in 2011 from HK$10.6 billion in 2007.

Speaking about the MTRC business development, Timothy Suen, the East Asia Rail leader of ARUP, a design and engineering consultant for the MTRC, said the concept of integrated city, land, rail and property development is always in place.

"You must have a strong government policy to support that [concept] with the appropriate legal framework," Mr Suen said.

"You have to adopt the public policy that rail is the backbone of the public transport system. You have to support that," he added.

Mr Yongsit insisted Bangkok’s rail development plans can follow in Hong Kong’s footsteps. "Every agency concerned must understand that there are ways to make profits from electric rail development and Hong Kong is a great example,' the MRTA governor said.

Prime areas adjacent to several railway stations in Bangkok have been left unused.

The MRTA should have bought the nearby land for commercial development from the beginning so that the investment for the rail stations would have been worthwhile, he said.

Mr Yongsit gave an example of LOHAS Park train station in eastern Hong Kong, where residential buildings are built in parallel with the station in an area of about 150 rai.

"There are up to 100,000 people living there now. They all use the electric train service," he said.

"Traffic congestion can also be mitigated by this."

'Instead of relying on the national budget or a loan of 2 trillion baht for the projects, which can be burdensome, the new model is likely to lessen the need to borrow," Mr Yongsit said.

Another potential rail development can be seen at Tung Chung Station on Lantau Island to the west of Hong Kong.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University civil engineering lecturer Agachai Sumalee said Tung Chung station is built on 135 rai. Around it are 32 residential buildings, shopping malls, hospitals as well as schools.

The development has given birth to a new town which connects to the airport and Macau, Mr Agachai said.

Turning to Thailand, he said it would not hurt to adopt the rail business development.

"Why not? Instead, we should ask why we haven’t yet done something like this sooner," he said.

According to Mr Yongsit, the Hong Kong rail development model could be applied, to a certain extent, to the electric train projects being undertaken in and around Bangkok.

"We could find ways to develop an 18-rai plot at Bang Ping area in the Green Line project. The area is currently set aside as a parking lot, which we could put a commercial spin on," he said.

If the train operator does not adjust conventional practices, it will be stuck with a business model that does not deliver a profitable enterprise.

"We have to seek a new model which will generate profits. We have to make every effort to change our ways. We must dare to change,' Mr Yongsit said.

According to the governor, the MRTA proposed new legislation in late 2012 to enable the agency to find more earnings channels, but the bill is pending the government’s consideration.

He also felt sorry that various train depots are lacking the structural foundation to sustain the construction of big buildings. It is difficult in those areas to make physical changes for further development, he said.

An example is the depot for the Purple Line which covers a 170-rai plot. Only 14 rai of the land can be slated for commercial development as most of the area was constructed without strong foundations.

The MRTA is now pursuing the construction of three rail lines for electric trains in Bangkok and its vicinity.

They are the Purple Line project (the 23-km Bang Yai-Bang Sue section); the Blue Line project (the 15-km Hua Lamphong-Bang Kae section and the 13km Bang Sue-Tha Phra section); and the Green Line project (the 12.8-km Bearing-Samut Prakarn section).

The agency, meanwhile, is awaiting cabinet approval for three projects: the Green Line’s 19-km Mor Chit-Saphan Mai-Kukot section; the Pink Line’s 34.5-km section between Khae Rai and Min Buri; and the Orange Line’s 21.2-km section between Thailand Cultural Centre and Min Buri.

The MRTA is also conducting feasibility studies on three projects: the Orange Line between Taling Chan and Min Buri, the Yellow Line between Lat Phrao and Samrong, and the Purple Line from Tao Poon to Rat Burana.

According to Mr Yongsit, the MRTA’s annual profit amounts to only 100 million baht. He said only a very small portion of revenue is generated from business development.

"As for the Hong Kong MTRC, about 80% of the indirect but important revenue comes from property development, which means it can pursue electric train projects without financial support from the government,” Mr Yongsit said.

"We still have hopes for the new rail routes [to be completed and operate efficiently],” he said.

He stressed the essential aspect is that the government sector must agree and have the will to see to the implementation of the rail projects which will be a boon to urban mobility.
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Old February 16th, 2014, 06:34 PM   #3471
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And of course there is this posted by PMA on January 29th. There are over 152 pages

TENDER FOR FINANCING PLUS ENGINEERING, PROCUREMENT & CONSTRUCTION (F+EPC) SERVICES FOR TURNKEY CONSTRUCTION OF ORANGE LINE METRO TRAIN PROJECT IN LAHORE

http://www.pma.punjab.gov.pk/sites/p...1_29012014.pdf
Start a separate thread for this information; don't post it SEVEN times in different threads in which is has no relevance.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 04:55 PM   #3472
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MTR knew of faulty parts before East Rail Line disruption delayed thousands
20 February 2014
South China Morning Post







The MTR Corporation knew about a defective batch of electrical insulators before one caused three hours of disruption on the East Rail Line on Tuesday, operations director Dr Jacob Kam Chak-pui said.

Kam also said the company would seek to hold the unnamed European supplier responsible.

Transport minister Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung says the government will monitor the MTR's performance and ask it to review maintenance work.

The most serious disruption on Tuesday was between Tai Po Market and Lok Ma Chau, where trains in both directions had to use the same track.

It was the second incident caused by the same batch of insulators in 10 days. Kam said in an RTHK interview that after the first incident on February 9, the company had conducted a detailed investigation and discovered the quality of the batch was not up to standard.

It had started replacing the insulators, and finished the replacement of four, before the second incident occurred. He did not explain why the company did not inform the public about the test results after the investigation.

The MTR Corp is replacing the other 65 insulators from the same batch and expects the process to be completed in 10 days. Kam said eight or nine of them were replaced on Tuesday night.

Without naming the "famous European brand" Kam said: "We will definitely pursue responsibility from the provider."

Cheung said the government would keep an eye on the MTR's performance and would follow up on its contingency measures, after information in MTR leaflets was found to contain scrapped bus routes on Tuesday.

Other platforms, such as those in Admiralty station and Kowloon Tong, also became more crowded following the disruption. The MTR had to close gates at Admiralty.

"We will request the MTR to review its maintenance work and potential problems in a comprehensive manner," Cheung said.

An East Rail insider said the line was built under a British system and many components were from the UK. The last time a similar incident occurred on the East Rail was 15 years ago. After that, former operator Kowloon-Canton Railway began inspecting parts bought from outside Hong Kong more carefully, especially those from the mainland, the source said.

Lawmaker Michael Tien Puk-sun, a former KCR chairman, said the MTR was slow in reacting to the first incident.

"They should have held the supplier accountable right after the first incident, and asked them to send a new batch to it immediately," Tien said.

He said the railway should also rethink whether overhead cables were the safest options to provide electricity to trains.
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Old February 20th, 2014, 11:11 PM   #3473
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He said the railway should also rethink whether overhead cables were the safest options to provide electricity to trains.
3rd rail isn't safer and its really silly to tell the MTR to convert their entire network to 3rd rail.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 04:40 AM   #3474
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MTR knew of faulty parts before East Rail Line disruption delayed thousands
20 February 2014
South China Morning Post

He said the railway should also rethink whether overhead cables were the safest options to provide electricity to trains.
This is utterly as stupid as one could get and is really detracting from the generally accepted notion that people there understand that the MTR has the world's highest commitment to quality. It's something I'd expect U.S. politicians would say.

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3rd rail isn't safer and its really silly to tell the MTR to convert their entire network to 3rd rail.
Agreed, and although they never said to convert to 3rd rail, it's probably what they were thinking. Unless they want to pay for the conversion to induction charging that's under testing for some bus lines in Korea.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 04:43 AM   #3475
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Insulators made in China, admits MTR
The Standard
Friday, February 21, 2014

The MTR yesterday admitted the insulators that caused two East Rail breakdowns in 10 days were made in China.

The railway earlier said a number of insulators from the same imported batch were found to be faulty and that it had decided to replace 63 of them in various parts of the network. So far, 23 have been replaced.

The admission came as angry commuters in Shenzhen openly asked the MTR to get out of the city following service delays on the Metro's Longhua Line, which it operates.

The MTR said the damaged insulators were imported through European brand Allied Insulators but were manufactured in the mainland.

"The MTR is following up with the company and will not make further purchases till the follow-up is complete," it said.

The insulators that caused the breakdowns were used to directly connect the pillars and high- voltage cables that provide electricity to the trains.

Meanwhile, about 400 East Rail passengers were evacuated yesterday after sparks were seen coming from a train leaving the Tai Wai Station.

A spokeswoman said MTR staff saw the sparks and informed the operations control center.

"About 400 passengers were asked to get off at Kowloon Tong station and the train was driven to a depot for checking."

She said the reason for the sparks was unknown because checking could not start until the train services stopped at about midnight.

In Shenzhen, thousands of commuters were late for work over the past two days because of signal problems.

A spokeswoman for MTR's Shenzhen office said there was a signal problem at Children's Palace and trains passing through had to be guided manually.

"We had to limit trains to every three to four minutes instead of two and a half minutes at peak hours," she said.

A Weibo user said he had to wait for more than 30 minutes to get on a train.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 11:24 AM   #3476
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If you buy the cheap stuff, you get the cheap outcomes.
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Old February 21st, 2014, 05:00 PM   #3477
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The article said they parts were defective or of poor quality it didn't say they were cheap. If all defective parts were the cheapest then you wouldn't sell all of them.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 10:06 AM   #3478
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The cheapest doesn't mean the poorest in terms of quality.

I wonder why everyone keeps blasting Chinese quality yet in China itself almost all metro systems work properly.
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Old February 23rd, 2014, 01:05 PM   #3479
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The cheapest doesn't mean the poorest in terms of quality.

I wonder why everyone keeps blasting Chinese quality yet in China itself almost all metro systems work properly.
It's cheaper to blame Chinese quality than admit that the operator themselves failed to perform quality checks on receiving. It would be the equivalent of shooting themselves in the foot.
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Old February 24th, 2014, 04:58 AM   #3480
hkskyline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ddes View Post
It's cheaper to blame Chinese quality than admit that the operator themselves failed to perform quality checks on receiving. It would be the equivalent of shooting themselves in the foot.
The manufacturer is responsible for testing their parts for quality assurance, not the purchaser. Would a vehicle owner test to make sure the car's engine works?

Clearly, your line of thinking does not make sense. The best that a purchaser can do is due diligence on the manufacturer, which is a reputable European brand for this part.
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