Crowding fears spur call for quick second rail link
Legislators have called for the early go-ahead of a second rail link between Tai Wai and central Kowloon after a forecast the Ma On Shan railway would reach capacity in 2011.
The Legco transport panel was reacting to plans by the Transport Bureau to start detailed planning and design of the new link only in 2006.
Legislators said it would be too late to build the second rail in 2006 as East Rail would be overcrowded.
Lau Kong-wah, of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong (DAB), said: 'I don't know if the secretary [Deputy Secretary for Transport Kevin Ho Chi-ming] has been to Tai Wai or Fanling. People cannot get into the train now. The rail line between Tai Wai and Diamond Hill should be built as soon as possible.' DAB legislator Chan Kam-lam said early preparation was essential as the population of Ma On Shan was growing rapidly.
Mr Ho said: 'We have to study that [second rail] carefully on issues such as the connecting point of the rail links.' Democrat Andrew Cheng Kar-foo said it usually took about 10 years for a rail link to be designed and built, so the Government should start now.
But Mr Ho said five years was enough for design and construction.
'We will be able to complete it in 2010 if we begin design work in 2006,' he said.