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Old November 12th, 2009, 05:38 PM   #201
hkskyline
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50 households stand in way of HK's high-speed link construction
6 November 2009
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The MTR Corporation is hoping to start building the Hong Kong section of the high speed train service through to Guangzhou by the end of the year, but a third of the affected households have still not signed up for the compensation plan.

"We hope the government will make the final decision and allow us to start construction by the end of this year," said Paul Lo Po-hing, the MTR Express Rail Link general manager. The Hong Kong section of the project will affect about 150 households, mainly villagers in the New Territories. The government was offering them compensation for giving up their homes, Lo said.

So far, only 100 households had registered with the compensation plan.

MTR Pearl River Delta planning manager Albert Yuen said: "The chief executive will make a decision about the [link]. But they need to move out."

If some residents refused to move, the government could legally force them out, Yuen said. While residents can seek legal action to stay put, chances of winning their case are slim.
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Old November 15th, 2009, 06:16 AM   #202
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Opinion : Why Hong Kong needs an express rail link
15 November 2009
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It was interesting to read the comments by Raymond So Wai-man, of Chinese University, on the new high speed connection to Guangzhou ("Is express link on the wrong track?", November 1).

It has been almost 100 years since the Hong Kong section of the Kowloon to Canton railway opened in April 1910, and to much the same criticisms as today. It was the most expensive railway per kilometre built in the world at that time. How could it make a profit? The governor, Sir Frederick Lugard, fought the British and Chinese governments and Legco on costs and benefits. His vision was that "Hong Kong should be the final outlet of the main trunk railway in China".

The existing rail link to Guangzhou is totally unsuitable for the 21st century. Hong Kong needs a fast link to other parts of southern China for business and tourism, and a station that deserves the status of China's southern terminus. The best stations are near the centre of a city, and they are easily accessible and cut down travelling times. They must give the many travellers that will come to Hong Kong from all over China the service they deserve. That makes it expensive, but it has to reap rewards for the future, and be ready for the next 100 years.

We have one of the best airports in the world; let's have the vision to do the same with the rail link.

Rory O'Grady, Kowloon Tong
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Old November 15th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #203
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Old November 15th, 2009, 06:40 AM   #204
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Vision, that's what we want.
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Old November 17th, 2009, 09:51 AM   #205
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Indeed, but that's not vision, that's toadying, as Hemlock and smog have pointed out.
http://biglychee.com/blog/2009/11/15...n-scmp-letter/
http://smogsblog.wordpress.com/2009/...omes-visiting/
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Old November 17th, 2009, 02:16 PM   #206
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Some more on the revised design of the terminus at West Kowloon in this document. No English version is available currently:

http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr09-10/chin...b1-398-1-c.pdf







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Old November 17th, 2009, 06:38 PM   #207
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It goes to show that quality architectures, rather than uninspiring and often cheap podiums and towers that overwhelm and overburden the urban fabric of Hong Kong, cost money. It seems that the original proposal was VERY preliminary. I am under the impression that the initial cost estimates of the airport core project were much more precise. The original draft-like HSR proposal sounds like a lure-and-bait operation to me.

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Old November 17th, 2009, 08:25 PM   #208
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gakei View Post
It seems to be footbridge overwhelmed.
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Old November 17th, 2009, 11:53 PM   #209
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I like the idea of a very modern landscaped roof. This is beginning to look interesting, but HK isn't known for keeping ideas from early renderings.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 04:14 AM   #210
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Two more photos of the terminus from today's press:




Last edited by gakei; November 18th, 2009 at 07:19 AM.
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Old November 18th, 2009, 06:28 PM   #211
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I see that there will be instead three smaller podia on top of the almost underground HSR terminus, in some kind of swish formations. What kind of development the parabolic-shape plot of land directly north of Union Square will have eventually? It is a rather large plot of emptly land at this moment.
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Old November 22nd, 2009, 06:02 PM   #212
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New rail station `like having another airport'
The Standard
Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The West Kowloon terminal for the Express Rail Link will be more than two-thirds the size of the Hong Kong Airport Terminal 1, though much of it will be underground.

It will feature greener designs and be packed with energy-saving devices, although the upper floor and roof will use glass panels to allow as much natural light as possible, MTR Express Rail Link general manager Paul Lo Po-hing said yesterday.

The four-story building will provide more open spaces and green zones at ground level, instead of the conventional wall effect of a tall building, with nine platforms for long-haul trains and six for short- haul, 144 immigration counters and 600 car parks to accommodate 10,000 travelers per hour.

The company has also reserved an area for a one-stop immigration clearance point.

The gross floor area is around 380,000 square meters.

"It will be like having another airport in terms of its size and function," design manager Frank Yuen Cheung-fan said.

Yuen said the size of the station is more than 70 percent of the airport's Terminal 1 and more than double Hong Kong Station.

He said each section of the station is designed to facilitate the movement of passengers from the train platforms via immigration and customs to the station exits.

Lo said: "Outside the station, we will build a network so passengers can walk to nearby destinations or to take public transport.

"For instance, we will build footbridges, subways and a plaza deck over Austin Road West connecti
ng Austin Station, West Kowloon Cultural District and Kowloon Station."

Lo also pointed out that customers using the West Kowloon facility will differ from the average MTR commuter because they will be mainly long- haul travelers who may need to spend a longer time inside the station.

To cater to their needs, around 30,000 sq m will be reserved for commercial use, such as duty-free shops, restaurants and food courts.

Construction of the station, part of the HK$55 billion Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link project, will begin at the end of the year and is scheduled to be completed in 2015.
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Old November 24th, 2009, 06:45 PM   #213
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One-stop border clearance eyed for rail link
The Standard
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Officials are eyeing a single building to house the immigration and customs facilities of both the HKSAR and mainland governments on the Hong Kong- Guangzhou-Shenzhen Express rail link, a Legislative Council subcommittee heard yesterday.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng Yu-wah also floated the possibility of mainland officers handling immigration formalities on the trains.

Lawmaker Cheung Hok-ming of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong said passengers having to clear immigration and customs twice would defeat the purpose of an express rail link. He said the government should do everything to enhance efficiency and economic returns of the railway whose HK$65.2 billion price tag had already angered society.

"One of the roles of the rail line is whether it can bring maximum economic returns. If the railway fails to provide a one-stop immigration and customs clearance, the function and the economic returns of the rail line will not be as good as it could be," Cheung said.

Cheng said "complex legal issues" needed to be overcome before possible collocation of the immigration and customs facilities for the express link.

"We are studying the issues by setting up an inter-departmental working group," Cheng told the Legco Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways.

"Yet I am not optimistic that collocation will be available when the rail line comes into service [in 2015]," Cheng added.

Civic Party lawmaker Audrey Eu Yuet-mee expressed fears that the express link's effectiveness would be diminished if passengers had to get off at the Shenzhen border and a collocation of facilities was not available.

In response, Cheng said: "We want to facilitate the travelers, yet we can't underestimate the complexity of the customs checks. We will discuss with the mainland authority to see if there is any possibility of working something out, such as the checks on board trains used in European countries."

The League of Social Democrats' Albert Chan Wai-yip said he was appalled at the escalation of the cost of the rail link, whose original budget has doubled.

"The central government said the rail line should be built. But it did not specify the line should end in West Kowloon," Chan said, accusing the government of trying to make West Kowloon a mega town.

"Why don't you simply build the terminal at Central station?"
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Old November 25th, 2009, 10:25 AM   #214
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Administration's paper on briefing on the planning of the West Kowloon Terminus:

http://www.legco.gov.hk/yr09-10/chin...1-423-1-ec.pdf
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Old November 30th, 2009, 06:04 PM   #215
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Angry rail-link protesters clash with police
30 November 2009
The Standard



A march by 1,000 people protesting against construction of the HK$65 billion Express Rail link to Guangzhou turned ugly when 100 of them clashed with police at government headquarters in Central.

The clashes, which were still going on late last night, first flared at the end of a two-hour rally by people from 20 organizations, who had marched from Causeway Bay yesterday afternoon.

They were urging lawmakers to reject funding for the Guangzhou- Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link when the Legislative Council's public works subcommittee meets on Wednesday. After the first clash with police, the 100 protesters sat down in front of the main wing of the Central Government Offices demanding to meet Secretary for Transport and Housing Eva Cheng Yu- wah.

By late last night there was no sign of Cheng or that protesters would leave. Among them were villagers from Choi Yuen Tsuen, who have been asked to move from their homes to make way for the project.

Some youths carried a railway model and said the consultation for the rail was too rushed, and the government had displayed a thoughtless attitude toward the plan.

Choi Yuen Tsuen Concern Group leader Ko Chun-heung said the government had ignored their demands, so legislators should reject funding for the project. ``We will monitor all the legislators because we want to protect our homes,'' Ko said. ``We will work hard till the last minute.''

She added that compensation deals would not lead them to give up their fight.

A woman named Tse, who has lived in the village for 18 years, said the government did not consider the elderly when it suggested they move to public housing. ``The government only knows about compensation. It never cares about whether the elderly can adapt to public housing or not,'' she said.

The government has offered up to HK$630,000 in some cases for the 150 families at Choi Yuen Tsuen, and the villagers will also be given priority to choose public housing.

The Executive Council endorsed the controversial Express Rail Link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen last month, even though the project exceeded its original estimate by HK$14.5 billion.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 07:49 PM   #216
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Legco approved the funding for the rail line.
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Old December 4th, 2009, 04:28 AM   #217
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cool... I like it...
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Old December 12th, 2009, 10:03 PM   #218
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Guangzhou high-speed rail debate gains pace
23 November 2009
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As China introduces its nationwide high-speed rail network, the debate about whether Hong Kong should foot the bill for an express line to link into the mainland's rail grid in Guangzhou is heating up.

At present, the train journey from Hong Kong to Guangzhou takes one hour and 45 minutes, but once the planned express link begins operating in 2015, travel time will be reduced to 48 minutes.

It is also envisaged that trains will depart for Guangzhou every 15 minutes during peak periods against hourly intervals, according to MTR Pearl River Delta planning manager Albert Yuen.

MTR Corp has been appointed by the Hong Kong government, one of its shareholders, to design, construct and operate the Hong Kong section of the Express Rail.

Those in favour of building the link point to the key role that Guangzhou will play as a transport hub in the Pearl River Delta and the need for Hong Kong to be connected to the grid via a high-speed line.

By 2020, the Shibi station in Guangzhou will have three high-speed rail connections, said Professor Zheng Tianxiang, a transport specialist at Sun Yat Sen University.

One will run to Hong Kong, one north to Wuhan and Guangzhou, and one to the west. The latter will branch into two high-speed links, one to Guangxi capital Nanning; the other to Guizhou province.

In addition, by 2020, the Shibi station will also be linked to a 2,200 kilometre intercity light rail in the Pearl River Delta that will cost 200 billion yuan (HK$227 billion), said Zheng. This light rail will link nine cities in the Pearl River Delta - Dongguan, Guangzhou, Huizhou, Foshan, Jiangmen, Shenzhen, Zhaoqing, Zhongshan and Zhuhai.

Hong Kong businesspeople would welcome a high-speed link to the extensive mainland transport grid, said Nomura analyst Jiong Shao.

"The Express Rail Link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou will likely increase business travel between these two cities significantly," said Shao. "Today's rail links between Hong Kong and the mainland are not very suitable for business travellers. The Express Rail Link should help businesses in both cities."

But others are not convinced.

"It does no good to say this will help business," said commentator Jake van der Kamp.

"If business is helped to greater profits then business can pay for the means of making these greater profits. If business then says that the means - a HK$65.2 billion railway - is greater than the extra profits that can be made by building the railway, then we have a good argument for not building it," said Van der Kamp.

"It all comes down to the huge cost of this thing - almost HK$10,000 per head for every man, woman and child in Hong Kong. We're going to pay that out of one pocket or another, out of a pocket called ticket price or taxes."

In isolation that price tag might not appear justifiable, said Macquarie analyst Anderson Chow.

"But we have to take into context China, which is building 18,000 kilometres of high-speed rail by the end of 2020. That will change how people move in five to 10 years and if Hong Kong is not part of this, that will be a big issue."

The mainland's Ministry of Railways plans to have the high-speed rail grid operating by 2020 and the total cost of this ambitious project will exceed two trillion yuan, estimated Zheng.

"It is not too costly. There will be demand for the service," said Zheng, adding the project would drive demand for many inputs, including rolling stock and raw materials.

In Guangdong, 2,800 kilometres of high-speed rail will be in place by 2020, he added, and given that the cost of the rail on the mainland is 150 million yuan per kilometre, the Guangdong network alone will cost 420 billion yuan.

By 2013, the high-speed service on China's east coast from Shenzhen to Shanghai will be completed. In 2015, Hong Kong will be connected by high-speed rail to Shenzhen, enabling passengers to travel from Hong Kong to Shanghai in eight hours.

By 2020, Guangzhou will have a high-speed rail link to Nanning, capital of the Guangxi region, and another fast connection to Guizhou province, both in the southwest.

"If Hong Kong doesn't link with Guangzhou, it will fall behind," said Zheng. "Hong Kong can't afford to lag behind Guangzhou, Dongguan and Shenzhen."

However, Hong Kong's high-speed rail timetable has already fallen behind the construction in Guangdong and the rest of the mainland by several years.

By 2012, a high-speed railway will be completed that will go all the way from Beijing to Wuhan in central China and to Guangzhou down to Futian station in Shenzhen.

But the Hong Kong section of the high-speed rail will not begin operating until 2015.

Zheng warned that without a high-speed rail link to Guangzhou, Hong Kong would risk losing out to Shanghai as China's hub.

By 2011, a 350 km/h high-speed rail link between Shanghai and Zhejiang provincial capital Hangzhou, costing 29.7 billion yuan, will start operation and reduce travel time from over an hour to 38 minutes, according to media reports.

By 2012, Shanghai will be linked by a 300 km/h rail service to Nanjing, the capital of Jiangsu province, which will cost 39.45 billion yuan and cut travel time to 72 minutes from two hours, reported Xinhua.

Shanghai will also have a 350 km/h high-speed rail link to Beijing by 2012, which will cut travel time from 10 to four hours.

But Van der Kamp sees it differently.

"The fact of the matter is that we are building this railway because a group of bureaucrats in Beijing, who do not understand cost-benefit considerations, have come to the view that a high-speed railway network would be a boost to national pride.

"For Hong Kong's part, we are putting in this rail link only because someone across the border said: 'Boo!' And our bureaucrats conceive it their job to jump every time anyone across the border says it."

Professional Commons, a Hong Kong non-profit organisation, proposed an alternative plan for the Express Rail, which its chairman Albert Lai said would cost HK$25 billion. The Hong Kong government has countered by costing Professional Commons' plan at HK$43 billion.

Under Professional Commons' proposal, the Express Rail station in Hong Kong would be at Kam Sheung Road in the New Territories, which would be linked by train to the existing Airport Express stations in Hong Kong and Kowloon.

"With this option, we will have three million people in Hong Kong who will have shorter journey times compared to the government option," said Lai.

"In overall passenger time, our option is superior."

Under the Hong Kong government and MTR's plan, Hong Kong's Express Rail station will be in West Kowloon, which means one million people would enjoy shorter journey times compared with Professional Commons' proposal, said Lai.

But MTR Express Rail Link general manager Paul Lo Po-hing said the Kam Sheung Road option was not feasible, as it was too close to Shenzhen.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 08:01 AM   #219
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Why not have the terminal at WKT, and a smaller, intermediate station somewhere in the New Territories which will be served by local trains?
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Old December 13th, 2009, 02:55 PM   #220
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Quote:
Originally Posted by urbanfan89 View Post
Why not have the terminal at WKT, and a smaller, intermediate station somewhere in the New Territories which will be served by local trains?
Yes - I think it makes sense, and will only add a few minutes to the journey.
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