Call to begin rail link in Yuen Long

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 17 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 17 February, 2009, 12:00am

A green group will apply to the Town Planning Board to stop the building of a cross-border railway station in West Kowloon.

Green Sense said the government should build the terminus for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link in Yuen Long instead of West Kowloon.

'There is no reason why residents in the New Territories should go all the way to Kowloon to take a train to the mainland,' the group's chairman Roy Tam Hoi-pong said.

The rail link, estimated at HK$39.5 billion, will start construction this year and is to be up and running by 2015. It is expected to cut the route to Guangzhou from nearly two hours to 48 minutes. It will be built underground and there will be no stop between the West Kowloon terminus and Futian station in Shenzhen.

Mr Tam said the government should build a section from Shenzhen to West Rail's Kam Sheung Road Station, near Yuen Long.

'Passengers should then switch over to the West Rail if they want to head for Kowloon. It is unnecessary and a waste of money to build a new route and a new terminus specifically for the cross-border train.'

His group will submit an application to impose a 'no railway station development' condition on the site of the West Kowloon terminus. 'Such an expensive railway project will inevitably need residential developments to finance it. We are worried there would be more wall-like housing in West Kowloon.'

A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau said 'an interchange station at the New Territories will inevitably extend the travelling time and will hinder the [service's] effectiveness'. The bureau received 85 objections during a two-month consultation, he said, and objection letters related to land resumption in Choi Yuen Tsuen in Yuen Long.