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Old January 11th, 2006, 03:21 AM   #1221
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South Island in line for smaller trains

The MTR Corp wants a smaller four- car railway for its planned South Island line because demand will be less intense than on the Hong Kong and Kowloon lines, a company official said.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006
Hong Kong Standard

The MTR Corp wants a smaller four-car railway for its planned South Island line because demand will be less intense than on the Hong Kong and Kowloon lines, a company official said.
MTRC chief design manager Malcolm Gibson told RTHK's Backchat program Tuesday that the company has yet to decide on the specific rail technology it will use to service an area that includes Ap Lei Chau, which, according to the Guinness Book of Records, is the world's most densely populated island.

Options available to the company include conventional steel wheel rolling stock, a rubber tire system like those found on the Airport Express trains, or a magnetic levitation train.

The underused and problem- plagued Shanghai-Pudong airport train that came into service last year is a maglev type of train. Plans for the South Island line are still awaiting government approval, even though MTRC submitted them in 2004.

The corporation also filed plans to start construction in 2005 after a lengthy consultation process.

A Legco meeting today will allow legislators to thrash out when the building program can begin.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 10:00 AM   #1222
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Airport Express has rubber tires? That's kinda hard to believe considering it runs on conventional rails.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 04:19 PM   #1223
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MTR plans futuristic upgrades for its stations
10 January 2006
South China Morning Post

MTR stations are to be turned into futuristic-looking centres in coming years, offering services including foot massages, clinics and even learning centres.

These are among the things commuters have told the MTR Corporation they want as it carries out a far-reaching station upgrade.

"We will revamp stations along the Tung Chung line this year, adding new stores and realigning old ones to make shopping easier," the corporation's marketing and station business manager, Jeny Yeung Mei-chun, said. "Opinions from our clients' will definitely be taken into consideration."

A survey carried out by the corporation last year found that cafeterias topped a commuters' wish list, followed by foot massage parlours, clinics, learning centres and audio-visual product stores.

Nineteen stations, including Causeway Bay, Admiralty and Central, were redecorated last year. One hundred new shops were introduced and advertising income in 2005 enjoyed a double-digit growth from the previous year.

Interiors are being redesigned with a theme, to give each an individual identity.

Causeway Bay, which handles 240,000 travellers a day, had a $14 million facelift last year in which four shops were added.

"The ceiling was reconstructed into rings, which give an impression of a spaceship," Ms Yeung said. "The whole idea was to give the station a modern, sophisticated feel."

"Our next targets are North Point and Tung Chung stations."

She said the former had become a hub for mainland travellers, while the latter catered to tourists using Disneyland.
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Old January 11th, 2006, 04:20 PM   #1224
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MTR arsonist screams insults at judge after conviction
11 January 2006
South China Morning Post

A man who screamed insults at the judge yesterday after being convicted of an arson attack on an MTR train was warned he could also face contempt of court charges.

Yim Kam-chung, 68, was forcibly removed from the court when he screamed, "The judge is a devil. Bandit, robber, ruled without reasons" after Court of First Instance judge Louis Tong Po-sun found him guilty.

At an earlier hearing, Yim was removed from court three times when his interruptions forced Mr Justice Tong to address the court through a microphone.

Yesterday, the judge warned Yim, who represented himself, that his actions could constitute contempt. He advised him to consider having a duty lawyer, who sat through the trial, to help in mitigation.

The judge also doubled the jurors' daily allowance to $560 and gave them a five-year exemption from further service, saying "the defendant's reaction was not easy to handle at times".

Sentencing was adjourned to January 25 pending two psychiatric reports.

More than 40 witnesses testified in the 20-day trial, during which Yim repeatedly protested that he was being treated unfairly.

The former electrical mechanic was accused of starting a fire on January 5 last year, soon after the train left Tsim Sha Tsui for Admiralty.

"Since the government confiscated six of my vehicles, I decided to cause a tragedy at the Admiralty MTR Station," he said. "Because my name is Yim Kam-chung I picked Admiralty MTR station."

The Chinese characters of the name Kam-chung are the same as those for Admiralty.

He claimed he had gone through five unfair trials between 1981 and 2004, in which he was convicted, fined and jailed.

Yim was arrested after the Correctional Services Department received a letter the day after the attack containing details of the arson.

The court heard Yim was pointed out by two passenger witnesses who said the arsonist wore a fisherman's hat and carried a trolley. One of them saw a man use a lighter to ignite a bottle wrapped in a towel.

A fisherman's hat, found by DNA tests to contain Yim's hair and skin tissue, was found at the scene.

Several items used in the firebombs were found at Yim's Tuen Mun public housing estate flat.

Defending himself, Yim said he had not left his flat on the day of the fire, he had no burn injuries and therefore he was innocent.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 02:14 AM   #1225
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KCRC rapped for faults cover-up
Compressors on some trains were secured with belts

12 January 2006
South China Morning Post

The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation has been given a warning letter by the government strongly condemning it for withholding details of its latest equipment failure for almost three weeks.

This follows the revelation that compressors in some KCR trains have been secured with nylon belts after defects were discovered following an incident last month.

The corporation said last night the precaution was taken after "slight cracks" were found in the welding of compressors mounted under the trains.

All trains were checked after a compressor on an East Rail train was found to have apparently come loose on December 21.

The government said last night the Hong Kong Railway Inspectorate received a verbal notification of the December 21 incident. But the government received no report that there were similar problems with other trains until Tuesday, when the KCRC said the mounting of equipment beneath the trains might need to be strengthened.

A warning letter was issued condemning the KCRC for "mishandling" the case and a report demanded "as soon as possible".

It was not clear why the company had not made the problem public earlier. It came under fire last July for not revealing for several days a crash between two of its trains at its Pat Heung depot.

The KCRC said the defect was discovered after a warning light on one of its East Rail trains indicated a mechanical failure. Checks found that the compressor appeared to have come loose.

The company did not detail the function of the compressor, but such equipment is commonly used in the braking system of trains.

"The company immediately arranged a thorough inspection of all its trains and found cracks in the welding of some of the compressors," the KCRC said. They had been secured with nylon belts as a temporary measure.
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Old January 12th, 2006, 02:15 AM   #1226
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Cautious approach on new rail line
Michael Ng
12 January 2006
Hong Kong Standard

The government will decide whether to approve the HK$7 billion South Island Line only after the completion of a study assessing its viability, says Secretary for the Environment, Transport and Works Sarah Liao.

She was speaking Wednesday ahead of a Legislative Council vote passing a non-binding motion that ``urges the government to expedite the construction of the MTR South Island Line'' to meet increased transport needs arising from the planned development of a series of tourism projects in the area, especially Ocean Park.

Liao said during the motion debate that the government had learned its lesson about the need to study the viability of proposed rail lines from the Kowloon-Canton Railway's West Rail project which, after two years of operation, attracts just half the 400,000 daily passengers initially estimated.

``We will walk with our eyes wide open and consider it carefully,'' Liao said of the proposed South Island line.

``The government does not want passengers and the public to be left responsible for the financial implications after an expensive rail line is constructed.''

To that end, Liao said her bureau is waiting to see the planning department's report on population growth in Southern District, which was scheduled to be completed late last year.

But motion-raiser and tourism- sector legislator Howard Young of the Liberal Party contended that planned tourism projects would quickly swell traffic in Southern District, further congesting Aberdeen Tunnel.

He cited Fisherman's Wharf in Aberdeen and Ocean Park _ the latter of which estimates its redevelopment will be completed in 2010 _ as boosting annual visitor numbers by 25 percent to five million.

``The problem can only be solved if the South Island Line is built,'' Young said.

The proposed line, which the Mass Transit Railway Corporation first officially tabled in 2002, will have two branches _ a western section starting at Hong Kong University station and running via Cyberport and Aberdeen to Wong Chuk Hang, and an eastern extension from Admiralty, via Ocean Park to South Horizons at Ap Lei Chau.

The MTRC is counting on the government to pay half the HK$7 billion construction cost.

But Democratic Party legislator Yeung Sum - whose amendment requesting the project be built by 2012 was also passed - argued that the government should not use public revenues to finance a project by a publicly listed corporation.
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Old January 14th, 2006, 02:21 AM   #1227
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Government urged KCRC to enhance maintenance works
Thursday, January 12, 2006
Government Press Release

Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation ("KCRC") yesterday (January 11) presented to its Managing Board about the possible need to strengthen the mounting of equipment located underneath the East Rail trains. In this connection, a spokesman for the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau said that the Government is very concerned about the incident.

The Hong Kong Railway Inspectorate received a verbal notification from KCRC on December 21, 2005 that at Fo Tan Station a train driver found the compressor mounted underneath the train appeared to be loosened. The passengers were required to take another train. Since then, the Government has not received any report from KCRC that there are similar problem for other East Rail trains.

In the afternoon of January 10, 2006, KCRC informed the Hong Kong Railway Inspectorate that the mounting of equipment located underneath the other East Rail trains might similarly need to be strengthened.

In this regard, the Government found that KCRC had not immediately notified the Government of the problem related to the other East Rail trains and has issued a warning letter yesterday (January 11) to KCRC to strongly condemn the Corporation for mishandling the case, and has warned the Corporation that it should promptly notify the Government of any problem or incident relating to the railways in future according to the KCRC Regulations.

Upon learning of the incident yesterday, the Government was gravely concerned about it. To ensure safe operation of the railway, the Government has yesterday (11 January 2006) set up a designated expert team comprising the Railway Inspectorate Section and relevant Government departments to inspect the East Rail trains concerned.

For this incident, the Government noted that KCRC had implemented specific improvement measures to strengthen the mounting of equipment located underneath the trains. These improvement measures have been verified by the train builder and local independent experts. The experts are of the view that these measures could effectively minimise the mounting problem of the equipment and could ensure the continued provision of a safe railway service.

The Government's initial assessment is that we concur with the assessment of the independent experts appointed by KCRC that with the mounting of equipment strengthened, the railway service has not posed immediate danger to passengers. However, the Government has already demanded KCRC to step up the necessary maintenance works. The Government has also demanded KCRC to comprehensively review the existing conditions of the trains and railway maintenance regime, and to submit a report to Government as soon as possible.
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Old January 14th, 2006, 04:40 AM   #1228
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Hong Kong's MTR Corp targets double-digit increase in rents
6 January 2006
(c) 2006, AFX Asia. All rights reserved.

HONG KONG (XFN-ASIA) - MTR Corp is aiming for a double-digit increase this year in rents at shopping malls it operates, the Standard reported, citing Chan Ka-ming, chief of shopping center management at MTR Property Management.

The leases to be renewed this year were signed in 2003, when rents slumped amid the outbreak of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome, the newspaper said.

MTR Corp has 150 shops in line to renew their leases. MTR Corp has a total of 500 shops in five shopping malls -- Telford Plaza, Maritime Square, Paradise Mall, Luk Yeung Galleria and The Lane.

In the run-up to the Lunar New Year, MTR Corp will spend about 10 mln hkd on decorations and promotions at Telford Plaza and Maritime Square.
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Old January 14th, 2006, 08:07 AM   #1229
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Quote:
Originally Posted by superchan7
Airport Express has rubber tires? That's kinda hard to believe considering it runs on conventional rails.
Yeah I think the newspaper made a mistake. Maybe it's referring to the APM at the airport.
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Old January 14th, 2006, 08:23 AM   #1230
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檢查29列翻新車 發電機問題浮現
九鐵組件裂痕多七倍
14/01/2006



九鐵組件裂痕事件愈捲愈大。繼上月底發現多部列車的十個支架有組件問題後,九鐵昨晚透露,經檢查所有二十九列翻新列車總數達八千多件的車底組件後,發現當中約八十件出現細微的裂痕,約佔全部組件百分之一,但較前日僅公布十個壓縮器支架有裂痕個案多了七倍。除了壓縮器支架外,發電機組件亦探測出有輕微裂痕。有工程界人士指出,九鐵使用尼龍索帶穩固只有短期作用,須盡快重新拆除焊接。

環境運輸及工務局局長廖秀冬昨日率領多名官員到九鐵火炭車廠視察,並詳細了解九鐵以尼龍索帶穩固的措施。

對於九鐵列車有高達八十件組件出現裂痕,環運局表示,由鐵路視察組及有關政府部門組成的特別小組已開展檢查東鐵列車工作,調查過程進展順利,當局會向九鐵了解再發現裂痕的情況,九鐵另有專家小組檢查後會提交報告,雙方再共同研究改善措施。

九鐵鐵路車輛設計及系統工程經理李家潤昨晚透露,除了壓縮器支架,發電機組件亦探測出有輕微的裂痕,他強調,涉及的細微裂痕需利用精密的磁力磨損探傷機探測,如頭髮絲般幼細,燒焊過程中出現細微的裂痕屬正常,不會構成組件脫落,也不會影響行車安全。

田北辰稱不會辭職
不過,九鐵拒絕進一步公布細微裂痕共涉及多少類組件,和涉及多少列翻新列車。九鐵又預計精密檢查在本月二十日完成,二十六日則會完成加裝輔助托架。

九鐵主席田北辰昨日出席一個電台節目時表示,正計畫向管理局提議成立獨立調查小組,研究改善通報機制及調查事件中各階層應負責任。談到事件是否涉及隱瞞時,田說:「整件事不存在欺上瞞下問題,只是溝通出問題。」他表示,自己鬥志仍十分強,會做到任期結束,不會辭職。

員工心態少做少錯
九鐵意外發生後,多名前九鐵員工昨日紛紛致電電台作出批評,一名廖姓員工表示,過去曾在維修程序中發現問題,向上司報告後,對方卻拒絕他的意見,亦沒有作出改善;另一名陳先生則稱,九鐵內部重懲處,員工都擔心出錯被處分,不少人因而「少做少錯」,這種心態更成為由上而下的工作文化。

理工大學機械工程系工程師盧覺強認為,髮絲幼裂紋不算嚴重,尚有承托力,但九鐵須盡快補救。
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Old January 14th, 2006, 08:23 AM   #1231
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九鐵管理層發年終酬金
14/01/2006

【本報訊】過去一年故障頻生的九廣鐵路,管理層人員不但未受懲處,反而在年終考核中獲得可喜評分,高層人員更向九鐵管理局建議,各成員按浮薪形式發放年終酬金。九鐵主席田北辰承認管理局曾討論向管理層發放酬金問題,但沒有表態會否扣起涉案管理層僱員的酬金。有立法會議員則認為,九鐵應在事故報告公布後,才決定是否向有關人士發放年終酬金,否則勢必引起不滿及質疑。

九鐵採用年終考核制度,今年的評核已經結束,雖然去年曾發生列車相撞、信號故障、飛站等事故,但管理級員工的評核結果仍然十分理想。田北辰昨出席電台節目時被問及年終酬金問題時透露,九鐵管理層酬金的發放有既定準則,管理局需考慮各人表現是否已達標,他亦認同,在考慮有關問題時,不能對今次事件視若無睹。

酬金比率十分可觀
九鐵在兩年前引入浮薪制度,多名高層都按表現獲年終酬金,以事件發生時正在放大假、並於本月三日獲悉事件的署理行政總裁黎文熹為例,他的年薪加福利是五百四十萬元,據了解內情的人士透露,行政總裁的年終酬金比率介乎百分之十至十五之間,屬可觀收入。
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Old January 15th, 2006, 12:43 PM   #1232
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News from Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK):

KCRC to revert to manual operations following safety concerns 2006-01-15 HKT 00:08

The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation says it will revert to manual operations of its trains, after experts determined that an automated system, in place since 2003, had increased stress levels on its carriages. There's been rising public concern over the safety of KCRC trains since it emerged that cracked mounting parts had resulted in loose components underneath some trains. Speaking at a news conference, KCRC Chairman Michael Tien said the reversion will result in slightly longer travelling times -- a ride from Lowu to East Tsim Sha Tsui will take a minute and a half longer. Mr Tien also promised that ALL trains would be immediately halted if any component is found to be loose. He also said an independent panel will be appointed, likely consisting entirely of non-KCRC staff, to ascertain whether any official needs to be held accountable for the equipment faults.




Government welcomes KCRC safety measures 2006-01-15 HKT 01:11

The Government has given a cautious welcome to a decision by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, to revert to manual operations of its trains as a safety precaution. Experts had earlier determined that an automated system, in place since 2003, had placed added stress on train carriages. This had apparently caused cracks in mounting frames underneath some trains -- to the extent that a compressor came loose on a train last month. In a statement, a spokesperson for the the Environment, Transport, and Works Bureau said reverting to manual operations should 'theoretically' be an acceptable move, but stressed that additional investigations into equipment faults are needed to ensure passenger safety.




Legco panel to question KCRC over manual decision 2006-01-15 HKT 11:53

A Legco panel is asking the Kowloon Canton Railway to explain itself following a decision to switch its automated operations to manual. Experts of the railway operator determined that the automated system had greatly increased the amount of stress exerted on equipment mounted underneath train carriages, which may have caused numerous cracks to form. The decision means slower running time and fewer trains. The chairman of Legco's transport panel Lau Kwong-wah said officials from both the KCRC and government had been asked to attend a meeting on Wednesday to answer questions. However, he said it was not the time to apportion blame.
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Old January 15th, 2006, 06:26 PM   #1233
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TD continues to closely monitor KCR services
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Government Press Release

The Transport Department (TD) announced today (January 15) that the Department had been closely monitoring the rail services of the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), after the Corporation started to use manual operation to temporarily replace the Automatic Train Operation System.

A TD spokesman said the KCRC used manual operation to temporarily replace the Automatic Train Operation System from 2 pm today. The TD held a meeting with the KCRC today. According to the Corporation, the manual operation only caused the train frequency (southbound) at the peak hour (from 8 am to 9 am) to be reduced by one departure (from 24 to 23), and the journey time of each train for the whole day between Lo Wu and Tsim Sha Tsui East lengthened by 1.5 minutes. There would only be a mild impact on the passengers, according to the KCRC.

The spokesman noted that the TD’s Emergency Transport Co-ordination Centre (ETCC) had been closely monitoring the train services. The Department had already established a close liaison with the public transport operators. When and where necessary, special public transport arrangements would be implemented to minimise the inconvenience that might be caused to members of the public.

The TD had also maintained a close communication with the Immigration Department, operators of the Yellow Bus and cross-boundary transport, so that they could made appropriate arrangements accordingly.

The TD spokesman stressed that since it would be a Monday and a working day tomorrow (January 16), he called on members of the public, especially those commuters traveling from the New Territories to the urban areas, to leave home earlier, and reserve more journey time to work or to school. They were also advised to pay attention to the latest traffic news broadcast by the television and radio stations.

The TD’s ETCC would continue to closely monitor the train services tomorrow.
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Old January 15th, 2006, 06:28 PM   #1234
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Government finds KCRC's proposal acceptable in principle
Sunday, January 15, 2006
Government Press Release

A spokesman for the Environment, Transport and Works Bureau said today (January 15) that after an initial analysis, the Bureau considered that the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation's (KCRC) proposal just announced to reduce the loading of the cracked equipment located underneath the trains, including using manual operation to temporarily replace the Automatic Train Operation System so as to reduce the pressure when the brake is applied, is acceptable in principle.

However, the spokesman pointed out that at the present stage, all possible causes had to be studied and improvement measures had to be implemented as soon as possible to ensure rail safety.

Replacing the Automatic Train Operation System will have an impact on train frequency. The Transport Department is now waiting for KCRC's full details of the affected service in order to make the necessary arrangements and adjustment of public transport services, so that the inconvenience caused to the public can be minimised.

Once the Administration and KCRC have agreed on the relevant arrangements, they will be implemented and announced. The spokesman called on the public and East Rail passengers to pay attention to the relevant announcements.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 04:22 AM   #1235
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KCR train pulled from service as crack found on 'pivotal point'
17 January 2006
South China Morning Post

A KCR train had to be pulled from service yesterday after the frame holding a nylon strap supporting a transformer was itself found to be cracked.

The discovery of the 15mm crack led one engineer to question whether the KCR's coach frames are strong enough.

Nylon belts have been added to secure major train parts since a mounting device snapped on December 21, leaving a compressor dangling under the train.

Speaking after a special board meeting, KCRC acting chief executive Samuel Lai Man-hay said: "It is the first time we have found a crack on a pivotal point {hellip} but 15mm lies within our safety limit."

Democrat legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said: "The public's confidence on KCRC has hit the bottom now. How can we trust the railway company?"

But transport minister Sarah Liao Sau-tung is satisfied train services are still safe.

"Material defects take time to develop. The cracks take time to expand. It won't collapse in one go."

She said it was to be expected that more faulty train parts would be found, in addition to the 199 discovered in inspections of 1,215.

The crack was among three further defects discovered in checks on the East Rail fleet as the row over secrecy surrounding the railway's spate of troubles continued.

"It appears the train's framework was not strong enough," said Polytechnic University scientific officer Lo Kok-keung. "It is hard to say why because the structure is supposed to have a long life."

The defects were found hours after East Rail trains switched from automatic to manual operation to reduce stress on their structure.

Mr Lai said service was normal on the first working day after the switch. "The busiest time is between 8.15am and 8.45am during which about 12 trains were in service. The number of trains during that half-hour was exactly the same as normal days," he said.

The KCRC offered an apology to passengers on a light rail train which opened its doors before it was fully alongside the platform at Siu Hong station last night. Passengers in the rear had to get off at the next stop.
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Old January 17th, 2006, 04:24 AM   #1236
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Government takes over KCRC inquiry
17 January 2006
South China Morning Post

The government has taken over the inquiry into the delay by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation in reporting faults in its trains.

Originally there were to have been two inquiries - one by the government and one by the corporation - into why the KCRC did not tell the government for almost three weeks about cracks found in key components of East Rail trains.

But it was agreed at a special KCRC board meeting yesterday that there should be just one.

This came as the troubled railway revealed three more defects had been found in its trains, taking the total to 199. They included a 15mm crack in the mounting point for nylon straps securing a transformer on one train. The train was withdrawn for more checks.

KCRC chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun said the inquiry would seek to determine whether anyone violated the notification mechanism and should be held responsible. Transport minister Sarah Liao Sau-tung gave no timetable for the inquiry by a government-led committee that will also include KCRC non-executive directors.

"The railway company has its own regulations while the government also has its own," she said. "We will decide the punishment after we find who should be held responsible and the cause of it."

Mr Tien said the board had agreed there should be one inquiry.

"Operations would be affected if there were too many similar investigations," he said. But starting the inquiry into the delay immediately would by unwise, because train inspections and finding the cause of the cracks should be the priority.

Mr Tien said it was right to include board members in the government committee because they were familiar with operations.

Dr Liao said independent experts would be asked to join, though names are not yet available.

Legislator Lau Kong-wah, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, said using board members was a good idea, as they were not managers tied to daily operations. However, Democrat legislator Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said: "We should have an inquiry committee with genuine independence."
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Old January 18th, 2006, 05:31 AM   #1237
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Free leisure magazine puts the brakes on its MTR deal
18 January 2006
South China Morning Post

Stop the train! Hui Kai Guide, the free leisure and lifestyle magazine distributed through the mass transit railway network on Thursdays, is getting off tomorrow after losing its contract with the rail corporation.

But whether this edition of the magazine will be the last to be clutched in the free hand of Hong Kong's straphangers remains to be seen since it is believed to be among the bidders for the new contract, along with Metro Publishing and Sing Tao News Corp.

Hui Kai Guide, in the second three-year term of its contract with the MTR Corp, is said to have pulled the emergency brake in the second half of last year, leaving the corporation to invite interested parties to submit contract bids by the end of November.

"We are still considering all the submissions and no decision has been made," an MTR spokesperson said.

However, a market source said Metro Publishing, the publisher of Hong Kong's largest free newspaper and holder of the exclusive distribution rights at MTR stations, was rumoured to have won the bid.

"Metro is going down the right track to secure the deal due to its long-term relationship with MTR. However, Sing Tao seems to have aggressively built up ties with MTR to pave the way for the entrance of its free Headline Daily to the MTR network," an industry watcher said.

With the MTR taking a cut of the revenue, the publisher has to secure as much advertising as possible to meet all costs and make a profit.

"Leisure magazines sell at $10 to $20 a copy, with over 100,000 copies a week (Hui Kai Guide reportedly distributed 160,000 copies each issue). However, the MTR one does not have this circulation revenue, making the business much harder," the industry watcher said.

As publishers point out, the newspaper and magazine markets are totally different.

Metro has certainly proved this as the newspaper turned in a profit through its exclusive arrangement with MTR.

Hui Kai Guide, meanwhile, seems to have jumped the tracks.
per cent.
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Old January 18th, 2006, 08:58 AM   #1238
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News from news.gov.hk:
Foreign expert to study rail safety: Sarah Liao

New ways to secure train parts ready soon
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Old January 19th, 2006, 01:43 AM   #1239
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Interesting, these cracks are found on the ones that were renovated right??
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Old January 19th, 2006, 03:26 AM   #1240
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'Dream' contract for Cheung Kong
Foster Wong
19 January 2006
South China Morning Post

Cheung Kong (Holdings) yesterday beat four other developers to win the contract for the second phase of the MTR Corp's huge residential-retail development in Tseung Kwan O, expected to cost up to $15 billion.

It is the second tender the firm has won in the project - at the future Tseung Kwan O South Station - which has been dubbed Dreamcity.

Last year, MTR gave Cheung Kong the go-ahead to build the smaller first phase of Dreamcity - 2,096 flats in five blocks with a total floor area of 1.5 million square feet.

Analysts said the phase two contract made Cheung Kong, also developing the Metro Town project at Tiu Keng Leng Station, one of Tseung Kwan O's biggest landlords.

Cheung Kong executive director Grace Woo yesterday said 10 blocks in Dreamcity's second stage would provide about 4,300 flats with a floor area of 3.33 million sq ft by 2010.

The firm's investment in the project would be $10 billion to $15 billion, including a land premium to be paid to the government, Ms Woo said.

Cheung Kong outbid Hang Lung Properties, New World Development, Sino Land and Wharf (Holdings).

The second phase will command a land premium of about $8 billion, or $2,417 per square foot - 56 per cent higher than the $1,546 per square foot charged for the initial phase.

Ms Woo predicted that home prices in Tseung Kwan O would rise 8 per cent to 10 per cent this year. But not everyone shared her confidence in the district.

"Starting in 2008, there will be a lot of new flat supply in Tseung Kwan O," said Adrian Ngan Wai-hung, the head of research at BNP Paribas Peregrine, adding that it could hit prices in the area.

Core Pacific-Yamaichi analyst Andy So Cheuk-yin said the key to the project's success was Cheung Kong's profit split with MTR.

When MTR opened the second phase tender on January 9, it offered a new profit-share arrangement, taking flats and shopping space instead of sharing cash earnings with the winning bidder.

Ms Woo declined to reveal how much floor space would be shared with MTR but said the scheme would not increase investment risk.

James Cheung King-tat, a senior associate director of Centaline Surveyors, said Dreamcity prices would be $4,000 to $4,500 per square foot.
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