Guangzhou-HK rail services delayed four hours for track work

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 09 December, 2006, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 09 December, 2006, 12:00am

Through train services between Guangzhou and Hong Kong were suspended for four hours from 9am yesterday for what mainland authorities claimed was emergency track work on the mainland section.

The delay came a day after an explosion in Guangzhou near the railway line to Beijing.

Six services - four Guangzhou-bound and two Kowloon-bound - were cancelled. Passengers were stranded at the KCRC station in Hung Hom. Staff made arrangements to help people through the control point and to the long-distance bus terminus.

The bus fare from Hung Hom to Guangzhou rose HK$20, to HK$120.

There were chaotic scenes at rail stations in Shenzhen and Guangzhou as 14 trains between the cities were cancelled and many more delayed. Services resumed at 1.25pm.

Thousands of travellers had to change their plans or take other means of transport, while Shenzhen authorities increased bus services between the two cities.

At one point, more than 300 people were queuing in Shenzhen to get on buses to Guangzhou.

Michelle Liang arrived in Hong Kong at about 3pm after being stranded for three hours at Guangzhou train station. 'It has caused me some inconvenience, but at least I made it to Hong Kong,' she said. She was not told the reason for the sudden closure of the tracks on the mainland side.

Many other people on the mainland complained they were left uninformed.

A Beijing-Kowloon train to arrive in Hung Hom three hours late. Passengers likewise said they had been given no explanation for the delay.

Ida Leung, senior public affairs manager of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, said Guangshen Railway Company had informed the KCRC promptly about the incident in accordance with its notification system.

It was not clear if anyone was injured in the explosion on Thursday, although train services between Guangzhou and Beijing were not affected.

The case is being investigated.

Witnesses told Guangzhou newspaper Information Times that a motorcyclist threw a white object from a flyover onto the railway and there was a blast soon afterwards. Police said the explosion was caused by a large firework. They later found four similar fireworks near the tracks.

Although the incident was unrelated to yesterday's suspension, it had caused confusion and fear among travellers.

Huang Weidong , the deputy security director of Shenzhen Lohu Bus Station, initially told Hong Kong reporters that the suspension was caused by a suspected terrorist attack.

'This is a special case. [Police] suspect terrorists have planned bombs and they are checking all the railways,' he said.

Guangdong Information Office denied receiving reports of suspected terrorist attack. Railway officials said the suspension was caused by construction work in Shipai village.

Additional reporting by Felix Chan