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Old December 15th, 2015, 05:46 AM   #861
hkskyline
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Appeal for more rail link funding
The Standard Excerpt
Monday, December 14, 2015

Three-quarters of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link's SAR section has been finished, and all that work will be in vain if construction stops now, the MTR Corporation Limited's incoming chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang says.

Ma hopes the Legislative Council's Finance Committee will approve the additional funding of HK$19.6 billion before March to enable the construction to finish by 2018.

Ma, who takes over as MTRCL chairman on January 1, said: "All the tunnel excavation work has been finished, and the construction work could be completed before the third quarter of 2018."

He said this yesterday as he accompanied a group of 11 lawmakers from the Legco Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways on a visit to the construction site at the Austin Station of the West Kowloon express rail terminus for the first time.

The project has been marred by cost overruns and delays.

The terminus is divided into four stories, with escalators and directional signages set up, and the tunnel for laying rail tracks ready.

MTRCL projects director Philco Wong Nai-keung said: "We have reserved areas at both the departure and arrival halls for joint immigration checkpoints. Our construction work has been designed under the principle of having the co-location of immigration clearance.

"Therefore we will continue to follow the government's direction on the project."
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Old December 15th, 2015, 12:45 PM   #862
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
Appeal for more rail link funding The Standard Excerpt Monday, December 14, 2015 Three-quarters of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link's SAR section has been finished, and all that work will be in vain if construction stops now, the MTR Corporation Limited's incoming chairman Frederick Ma Si-hang says. Ma hopes the Legislative Council's Finance Committee will approve the additional funding of HK$19.6 billion before March to enable the construction to finish by 2018. Ma, who takes over as MTRCL chairman on January 1, said: "All the tunnel excavation work has been finished, and the construction work could be completed before the third quarter of 2018." He said this yesterday as he accompanied a group of 11 lawmakers from the Legco Subcommittee on Matters Relating to Railways on a visit to the construction site at the Austin Station of the West Kowloon express rail terminus for the first time. The project has been marred by cost overruns and delays. The terminus is divided into four stories, with escalators and directional signages set up, and the tunnel for laying rail tracks ready. MTRCL projects director Philco Wong Nai-keung said: "We have reserved areas at both the departure and arrival halls for joint immigration checkpoints. Our construction work has been designed under the principle of having the co-location of immigration clearance. "Therefore we will continue to follow the government's direction on the project."
Its bad enough there are communists in Government House, in Legco and in the Army Barracks. Keep them north of the border fence. Tell them to get on at Shenzhen and ride to Dongguan or Guangzhou and scan Id or passport on board.
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Old December 15th, 2015, 04:50 PM   #863
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Its bad enough there are communists in Government House, in Legco and in the Army Barracks. Keep them north of the border fence. Tell them to get on at Shenzhen and ride to Dongguan or Guangzhou and scan Id or passport on board.
Would if we could. Apparently there isn't enough time to do so.
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Old December 17th, 2015, 05:21 PM   #864
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Dec 14, 2015
Why co-location plan on rail link raises some fundamental issues
Hong Kong Economic Journal Excerpt

Without revisiting the background of the tussle and the chicanery the government has displayed throughout, you won’t be able to understand what the immigration control co-location issue means to “one country, two systems”.

I am referring to the key aspect related to the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong high-speed rail link.

The government conceived the express rail project to speed up cross-border integration for the “one-hour living circle” between Hong Kong and the rest of the Pearl River Delta.

To push the project through the legislature, it schemed a three-fold lie: to purposefully underestimate the project cost, exaggerate the work progress and leave the unsettled co-location issue to the future.

Surely Hongkongers will have to agree to open the door for mainland agents, no matter how distasteful the prospect, given that we are already halfway through the construction of the rail link.

This is exactly what we saw last week when the Transport and Housing Bureau told lawmakers that we stand to lose up to HK$75.6 billion, including HK$60 billion already spent, if we choose to scrap the project.

If we press ahead, the total bill could hit the cap of HK$84.4 billion, which would be 32 percent higher than the original estimate back in 2009.

And, if Hongkongers reject the co-location plan for faster immigration and customs clearance, we will be pouring money for a hugely expensive white elephant as the express rail link may be no quicker than the current inter-city through trains, as officials warn.

This is how the government’s scheme to fool Hongkongers into the scam has worked out. To create the legal ground for mainland agents to enforce laws in Hong Kong, provisions of the Basic Law would be twisted.

A mainland law scholar sent out word last month that since the Chinese State Council delineated and gazetted the boundary of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region prior to the Basic Law’s promulgation in 1990, Beijing has the legal power to allot a designated portion of Hong Kong’s territory – certain areas within the West Kowloon terminus – for occupation by mainland law enforcement personnel.

Article 7 of the Basic Law, which states that land and natural resources within the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region shall be state property, is also cited as the source of Beijing’s rights.

The only due procedure required is for the National People’s Congress to enact laws to enable mainland agents to be stationed in the heart of Hong Kong.

The rationale is indeed nothing new: Beijing exercises overall jurisdiction over Hong Kong and the SAR authorities have no power unless authorized.

The rest : http://www.ejinsight.com/20151215-wh...mental-issues/
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Old December 26th, 2015, 12:50 AM   #865
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Lawmakers may get to read 'sensitive' rail agreement
22 December 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt

The government might allow lawmakers to read the entrustment agreement for construction and commissioning of the high-speed rail link to Guangzhou, Hong Kong's transport chief said yesterday.

Secretary for Transport and Housing Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said lawmakers had asked for details about the pact signed between the administration and the MTR Corporation, widely seen as key information in determining which party should be responsible for covering the cost overruns after prolonged delays in completion of the project.

"The agreement contains sensitive information ... but the administration will consider the lawmakers' request and discuss with the MTR," Cheung told an inquiry in the Legislative Council.

"We will make an announcement when we come to a decision," he added, without giving a timetable for the disclosure.

Under a controversial agreement announced last month, the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link will be completed in the third quarter of 2018, with the cost revised to HK$84.42 billion - HK$880 million less than the corporation's last estimate.

The government hopes to persuade a highly sceptical Legislative Council to approve the HK$19.6 billion in extra funding by February. Almost exactly the same amount should eventually be recouped through a special dividend to be paid by the MTR.
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Old December 29th, 2015, 07:50 AM   #866
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Futian rail link speeds up travel to Guangzhou
The Standard Excerpt
Thursday, December 24, 2015

Traveling to Guangzhou will take only 42 minutes for Hongkongers when Shenzhen's Futian Station on the Express Rail Link starts operating on Wednesday.

Taking a train from Lo Wu station to Guangzhou would normally take 80 minutes, but with the opening of the Futian Station, it will take just 42 minutes on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail for Guangzhou South station.

Travelers can take the MTR to Lok Ma Chau, where they will be able to switch to the Express Rail Link.

The Futian terminus is the biggest underground railway station in the world, according to mainland media reports.

The three-story station takes up an area of 147,000 square meters, equivalent to 21 football fields, with 1,200 seats for passengers in the waiting hall.

Platform screen doors have been designed to ensure passenger safety. At the first stage of operation, 23 trains toward Guangzhou South will be operating daily. The number of round trips could increase at a later stage.

North District councillor Lau Kwok-fan said he expects more business trips will be made from Futian to Hong Kong's Lok Ma Chau station when the Futian terminus starts running.
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Old December 30th, 2015, 02:53 AM   #867
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The article is very confusing. It says "it will take 42 minutes for Hong Kongers to got to Guangzhou". So from Hong Kong or from FuTian station? If from FuTian station then it's not only to Hong Kongers.
Then once you get to Lok Ma Chau it says they'll be able to switch to the "Express Rail Link"? but you still need to go from Lok Ma Chau to FuTian train's station. And it's not even directly connected with the metro, you have one change.
And I originally thought the FuTian-Guangzhou station would take 30 minutes only, while the Hong Kong-FuTian would take 15 minutes.
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Old December 30th, 2015, 04:20 AM   #868
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Originally Posted by YannSZ View Post
The article is very confusing. It says "it will take 42 minutes for Hong Kongers to got to Guangzhou". So from Hong Kong or from FuTian station? If from FuTian station then it's not only to Hong Kongers.
Then once you get to Lok Ma Chau it says they'll be able to switch to the "Express Rail Link"? but you still need to go from Lok Ma Chau to FuTian train's station. And it's not even directly connected with the metro, you have one change.
And I originally thought the FuTian-Guangzhou station would take 30 minutes only, while the Hong Kong-FuTian would take 15 minutes.
I'm reading and hearing confusing numbers as well. This article says 36 minutes between Shenzhen North to GZ South, so perhaps 40 to Futian makes sense. But I recall the TV news reported 30 minutes, in which case 40 seems plausible if factoring in the train ride from the Lok Ma Chau border.

http://www.ejinsight.com/20151229-wh...an-48-minutes/

I don't see the schedules loaded onto Ctrip yet.
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Old December 31st, 2015, 01:50 PM   #869
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Trip back in time for railway travellers
31 December 2015
South China Morning Post Excerpt

Back in the 1970s, a simple journey across the border was an adventure

With the opening of the new Futian railway station yesterday, it now takes less than an hour to travel to Guangzhou, a hub city connected to the national network, even faster than travelling to some remote areas of Hong Kong.

It's the kind of convenience that was once unimaginable for Paul Lee Siu-nam, a professor in his 60s at Chinese University's School of Journalism and Communication.

Lee recalls how it used to take the best part of a day to reach his hometown of Huizhou (惠州) in Guangdong in the 1970s, while hauling heavy bags full of gifts for relatives.

He and his family would line up at Hung Hom station as early as 6am to catch the train to Shenzhen, and then change to a small van near the border before finally arriving in Huizhou at around 3 to 4pm.

"I remember I wore multiple layers of clothes when heading for Huizhou, but only one layer was left on the way back to Hong Kong," Lee says. All the extra clothes were given to his mainland relatives.

That was a common tactic used by Hong Kong travellers back then, as they tried to take as many things as possible to relatives struggling with poverty and desperately short of bare necessities in the storm of the Cultural Revolution.

"We left whatever we could leave," says Lee.

Canned biscuits and salted fish in oil were the most popular gifts, Lee recalls, as they were both rare and useful on the mainland.

"Money was the best, of course," he adds.

However, times have changed on both sides of the Shenzhen River over the past four decades.The younger generation in Hong Kong is no longer bound to China by kinship like our generationPaul Lee Siu-nam

Lee's mainland relatives are no longer crying out for gifts and some regularly cross the border to visit Hong Kong and stock up on daily supplies like milk powder. Many have become wealthier than ordinary residents of the city.

Meanwhile, Hongkongers are also travelling in greater numbers than ever. Data compiled by the Census and Statistics Department shows that departures of local residents by sea and by land from Hong Kong have grown by 31 times since 1975, reaching 75 million last year.
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Old January 2nd, 2016, 05:38 AM   #870
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New Hong Kong MTR chief pays staff early New Year's Day visit in station, details challenges ahead
1 January 2016
South China Morning Post Excerpt

The new chairman of MTR Corporation warned early this morning it would be a challenge to secure extra funding from lawmakers to finish Hong Kong's long-delayed high-speed railway link.

MTR currently was short HK$19.6 billion to finish the city's portion of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link and sought the amount by March.

To keep the project running, the government last year proposed to ask the Legislative Council to approve HK$19.6 billion in extra funding by February. Almost exactly the same amount would eventually be recouped through a special dividend to be paid by the MTR, subject to its shareholders' approval.

Frederick Ma Si-hang, the new MTR chairman, said that while he expected minority shareholders of the corporation to support the plan to issue the special dividend at a meeting in February, legislators might not agree to give it the money.

"Looking at how stock prices are trending now, it seems minority shareholders will support the proposal,"said Ma, marking his first day as railway chief today by visiting his staff members working overnight at Tsing Yi MTR station at 1:30 am on New Year's Day.

"If we get approval from the minority shareholders, the next step is to go to the Legislative Council.

"This will be a difficult challenge because everyone knows the Legislative Council has many problems, including filibustering," he added. "March is our deadline [to secure the funding]."

Although Ma said he knew the government's suggestion of setting up a joint immigration checkpoint at the West Kowloon terminus was a cause for concern among some lawmakers, he said MTR had no control over it.

"MTR has no role in this matter," he said. "It has to be solved by the government."

Ma also revealed MTR had yet to obtain the right to operate the Hong Kong section of the high-speed railway and hoped the government could start discussions on the operation within this year.

Despite all the financial and policy uncertainties, Ma said he remained "confident" the rail project could finish by the third quarter of 2018.
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Old January 5th, 2016, 05:04 PM   #871
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P1210602a by kl lam, on Flickr
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Old January 6th, 2016, 03:48 AM   #872
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MTR fills in gaps on new link
The Standard Excerpt
Wednesday, January 06, 2016

It may take Express Railway Link passengers more than an hour to travel from Hong Kong to Guangzhou if the train stops at every station, says the latest information from MTR Corp Limited.

Transport and housing secretary Anthony Cheung Bing-leung had earlier said the government's proclaimed 48-minute ride on the super train did not count the time for stopping at different stations.

Cheung insisted the 2009 estimate did not include train stops and that the actual travel time would depend on discussions with the mainland side, a statement that surprised several lawmakers, including transport panel chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun.

According to the design of the Express Railway Link, the journey from the West Kowloon Terminus would take 48 minutes if it skipped the Futian, Shenzhen North and Humen stations. The three stops will add 15 minutes to the trip.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 03:34 AM   #873
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Nod for rail link monitor post
The Standard Excerpt
Thursday, January 07, 2016

The appointment of a new chief engineer to monitor the construction of the much-delayed and overbudget Hong Kong section of the Express Rail Link passed its first hurdle at the Legislative Council's establishment subcommittee yesterday.

The proposal to reopen the post in the Railway Development Office of the Highways Department was approved by 20 votes to eight, and will now be submitted to the Finance Committee for final approval.

The four-year job, which will have a salary and staff on-cost of HK$2.27 million a year, will be backdated to December 31 last year, and last until the final day of 2019.

According to the Legco document, the job calls for providing dedicated support and monitoring the completion of the Hong Kong section of the Express Railway Link.

The job was first opened on July 4, 2008, but lapsed last July, as the department failed to obtain the Finance Committee's approval to retain the post.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 03:52 AM   #874
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MTR fills in gaps on new link
The Standard Excerpt
Wednesday, January 06, 2016

It may take Express Railway Link passengers more than an hour to travel from Hong Kong to Guangzhou if the train stops at every station, says the latest information from MTR Corp Limited.

Transport and housing secretary Anthony Cheung Bing-leung had earlier said the government's proclaimed 48-minute ride on the super train did not count the time for stopping at different stations.

Cheung insisted the 2009 estimate did not include train stops and that the actual travel time would depend on discussions with the mainland side, a statement that surprised several lawmakers, including transport panel chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun.

According to the design of the Express Railway Link, the journey from the West Kowloon Terminus would take 48 minutes if it skipped the Futian, Shenzhen North and Humen stations. The three stops will add 15 minutes to the trip.
Are they really expecting every train on this line to stop at every station?
Just look at the current GTT or services from Shenzhen North, there are a range of service and choices through out the day. How can this really be a surprise to anyone?

There is more than enough traffic on this route to justify a through service to match the quoted 48 minute time. It is also likely to have limited stop services too, with Futian being the most likely stop, with a limited dwell time. In the worse case, to stop at all stations is only 63 minutes. Close enough to be promoted as an hour long ride.

Last edited by Short; January 7th, 2016 at 03:58 AM.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 08:50 AM   #875
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Are they really expecting every train on this line to stop at every station?
Just look at the current GTT or services from Shenzhen North, there are a range of service and choices through out the day. How can this really be a surprise to anyone?

There is more than enough traffic on this route to justify a through service to match the quoted 48 minute time. It is also likely to have limited stop services too, with Futian being the most likely stop, with a limited dwell time. In the worse case, to stop at all stations is only 63 minutes. Close enough to be promoted as an hour long ride.
The original proposal did not include 2 additional stops that were built on the Chinese side. The expensive project was originally promoted with a significant time savings but it seems that is being eroded away bit by bit with these surprises while the cost continues to escalate beyond budget.

So the question is whether it was worth all that money to get marginal time savings over the existing thru-train?

We still don't know how many true express trains there are. Don't think Hong Kong can dictate this as the schedules are owned by the mainland train operator.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 09:38 AM   #876
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The original proposal did not include 2 additional stops that were built on the Chinese side.
Between Hong Kong and Guangzhou South, 5 HSR stops exist:
  1. Qingsheng
  2. Humen
  3. Guangmingcheng
  4. Longhua
  5. Futian
Which of these 5 are "the 2 additional"?
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
So the question is whether it was worth all that money to get marginal time savings over the existing thru-train?

We still don't know how many true express trains there are. Don't think Hong Kong can dictate this as the schedules are owned by the mainland train operator.
We do know how many express trains there are on mainland, though we do not know how many of them will be.
As of 9th of January schedule, I counted a grand total of 17 G trains that travel Guangzhou South to Longhua nonstop, 29 to 32 minutes.
At the same day, 71 trains made 1 stop between these stations, trip time 36 to 41 minutes.
Assuming it's the express trains which are picked to continue past Longhua, for reasons which may not be limited to travel time, but include border facilities
the extra trip time for the trains that go to Futian seems to be 14 minutes - 3 minutes dwell at Longhua, 11 minutes for 9 km trip.
After 29 minutes Guangzhou South to Longhua arrival, it makes a grand total 43 minutes Guangzhou South departure to Futian arrival.
What would be the travel time Futian-Hong Kong?
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Old January 7th, 2016, 11:55 AM   #877
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Originally Posted by chornedsnorkack View Post
Between Hong Kong and Guangzhou South, 5 HSR stops exist:
  1. Qingsheng
  2. Humen
  3. Guangmingcheng
  4. Longhua
  5. Futian
Which of these 5 are "the 2 additional"?
According to this news article, Guangmingcheng and Qingshen were added.

The schedules are likely going to drastically change once the Hong Kong section opens to cater for the significant increase in traffic.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 02:00 PM   #878
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Guangmingcheng and Qingshen were added.

The schedules are likely going to drastically change once the Hong Kong section opens to cater for the significant increase in traffic.
On more examination of present schedules on mainland, turns out NO train now makes 3 stops between Guangzhou South and Shenzhen North.
There are 6 trains that make 2 stops. Compared to over 70 with 1 stop, and 17 nonstops.
Guangzhou South-Guangmingcheng has just 5 trains, 2 of them nonstop, the other 3 stop in Humen. Guangzhou South-Qingsheng has 6 trains.
So: out of the 95 or so daily trains, just 11 stop at Guangmingcheng and Qingsheng, not a single in both.
Having a few trains stop in these stations would slow down (by 7 minutes or so) these few trains. No effect on the travel time of expresses, and only feeble effect on the number of expresses.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 02:34 PM   #879
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On more examination of present schedules on mainland, turns out NO train now makes 3 stops between Guangzhou South and Shenzhen North.
There are 6 trains that make 2 stops. Compared to over 70 with 1 stop, and 17 nonstops.
Guangzhou South-Guangmingcheng has just 5 trains, 2 of them nonstop, the other 3 stop in Humen. Guangzhou South-Qingsheng has 6 trains.
So: out of the 95 or so daily trains, just 11 stop at Guangmingcheng and Qingsheng, not a single in both.
Having a few trains stop in these stations would slow down (by 7 minutes or so) these few trains. No effect on the travel time of expresses, and only feeble effect on the number of expresses.
What makes you think the current schedule could be extrapolated once the full line opens all the way to Hong Kong? There are already plans to increase frequencies in this government press release. Keep in mind Futian is not a turnaround station with only 4 train platforms (per that news release), so naturally they can't run all the frequencies that the line was designed for. The current capacity is nowhere near the full line's potential.
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Old January 7th, 2016, 03:25 PM   #880
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What makes you think the current schedule could be extrapolated once the full line opens all the way to Hong Kong?
Because that's the best information to extrapolate from. I'm very much aware that there are options as to where to extrapolate to.
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Originally Posted by hkskyline View Post
The current capacity is nowhere near the full line's potential.
102 or so trains per day. Tokaido Shinkansen has what, 160?
The question is how additional frequencies might be distributed.
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