• Wed
  • Aug 20, 2014
  • Updated: 9:52pm


The MTR Corporation (its original full name was Mass Transit Railway Corporation) is listed on the Hong Kong Exchange and is a constituent of the benchmark Hang Seng Index. MTRC operates the Hong Kong underground rail system and is a major property developer and landlord in the city. It also invests in railways outside Hong Kong.


Mainland China advisers furious over Hong Kong's high-speed rail link delay

It will definitely affect pace of integration in the Pearl River Delta, says Guangdong adviser

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 April, 2014, 3:16am
UPDATED : Friday, 18 April, 2014, 4:46pm

A two-year delay in the completion of the HK$67 billion high-speed railway connecting Hong Kong with Shenzhen and Guangzhou will have a serious impact on the Pearl River Delta, government advisers say.

Shenzhen officials - always cautious when commenting on Hong Kong - complained they had yet to be formally notified by the Hong Kong side.

"We are very sorry … so far we haven't been told by any Hong Kong department [about the delay]. What we can do is to make sure that our section will be completed on schedule," said an official from Shenzhen involved in the project, who refused to be identified.

Mainland government advisers were much more blunt.

Zheng Tianxiang, a provincial policy adviser involved in several infrastructure projects - said the delay would "definitely affect" the pace of the Pearl River Delta's integration.

A plan to streamline travel time to no more than an hour between each of the economically powerful delta region's cities is at the centre of the Guangdong government's development blueprint. Local authorities believe this will create capital and prompt a flow of talent to help the region upgrade its economy.

"For this to happen, all sections of the key infrastructure projects must be completed and connected synchronously. If one part gets delayed, the whole plan will be affected," Zheng said.

Zheng said the delay would affect the profitability of the rest of the rail link. The section between Guangzhou and Shenzhen is already open but ridership is low because most potential customers want to come to Hong Kong instead of Shenzhen.

"The passenger flow is much lower than we expected because the Hong Kong side is lagging behind. Now we are told there will be another two-years of delay," Zheng said. "Would the Hong Kong government take up the responsibilities for the poor return of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen express railway?"

Ding Li, a planning expert at the Guangdong Academy of Social Sciences, blamed the "weak determination and political will" of the Hong Kong government in pushing for cross-border co-operation.

"The delays will make our regional integration progress look bad in the eyes of Beijing. Integration is the only future for the delta. If one falls behind, all fall behind."

The MTR Corporation disclosed the delay on Tuesday, citing the breakdown of a tunnelling machine at Yuen Long as the main problem. It means construction, which started in 2010, will not be finished until 2016, with services starting in 2017. When announced, the project was to be finished next year.

MTR officials have said additional costs due to the delay would be covered by a HK$4.4 billion contingency fund.


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This article is now closed to comments

Don't worry, dear Mainland officials, the rail link will be ready in advance of the completion of phase 2, the construction of the 500,000 new flats. And once the 500,000 flats are launched, the rail link will help bring in the 2 million more mainlanders envisioned for Hong Kong, all as planned comrade.
Dear Mainland officials and BJ government: You forced, I mean 'persuaded' the HK government to spend our money on this hugely unnecessary rail project. If the HK Govt is bit late in building it, well, tough luck. Hong Kongers didn't want it anyway. We wanted clean air.
Integration or assimilation? Why would a transport delay be driving these guys so nutty? Methinks there is more of an agenda than speeding tourist traffic into HK. Paging Mr. Borg.
No doubt they are upset because a lot of bribes are in jeopardy.
Of course they are upset. They'll have to wait a bit longer for their bribes now.
Then let them PAY for it!
All the groaning from across the border confirms the entire project, costing Hong Kong taxpayers tens of billions, is just a gift to our Beijing masters.
This article is so short of facts and so full of hypocrisy, it should never have been published.
The Zhuhai-Guangzhou line, Xiamen-Shenzhen North, and Guangzhou-Shenzhen North ( soon to be Futian) have all suffered major construction delays. The delay completing the Zhuhai North - Zhuhai section was in fact close to 2 years.
Every Guangdong bureaucrat is fully aware of these rail construction delays.
When Zeng says- "the delay would affect the profitability of the rest of the rail link" and "the section between Guangzhou and Shenzhen is already open but ridership is low" he conveniently fails to disclose that this rail line presently terminates well north of the CBD and will only be completed into downtown Futian, hopefully by the end of this year.
Once the massive Futian train & subway complex is fully opened, the rail ridership will increase dramatically.
It's a well known fact that on the mainland meeting deadlines for prestigious projects has priority over safety and quality.
Hong Kong people still remember very well the disaster of the opening of the new airport at Chep Lap Kok which was opened before being fully tested and fine tuned but upon pressure from Beijing.




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