Seventy per cent of the senior posts in the West Rail division of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation are filled by outside consultants. And most were recruited through the Pacific Bechtel Corporation. The disclosure raised fears over lack of supervision of the employment of expatriate consultants on the $80 billion project. Legislator Samuel Wong Ping-wai said the figures showed the KCRC did not have enough expertise to run the project. 'Therefore the Government should consider seriously whether construction of the project should go to the KCRC,' he said. Mr Wong suggested the Government set up a co-ordinating office, along the lines of that for the new airport, to supervise construction. According to a chart of the organisation of the West Rail division released by the KCRC yesterday, only six of the 20 posts on the West Rail steering committee were held by KCRC staff. They included chairman Kevin Hyde and director Ian McPherson. Other members included a financial analyst, a railway operations and systems manager, a transportation, planning and development manager and a senior communications manager. All the other specialist advisers, deputy project managers and managers were dominated by consultancies. They came from Bechtel, Johnson and Higgins, HSBC Investment Bank Asia, Johnson, Stokes and Masters and A. T. Kearney. James Lamble, a senior communications manager, was on the staff of Bechtel but was not on the chart. Bechtel has received consultancy contracts worth $294.1 million from 1991 through to April of this year. For the whole division, the total number of staff was 232, of whom 137 were expatriates. The ratio of expatriates to locals was expected to fall, especially if the project was approved, a KCRC spokesman said. The KCRC also issued a statement denying that while Ian McPherson was on holiday his post was filled by a senior consultant. A KCRC spokesman said Mr Hyde assumed overall responsibility for the West Rail project while Mr McPherson was on leave and this was normal practice of KCRC. Jerry Riggsbee, a Bechtel senior project manager, had not assumed the title of acting director of West Rail, the spokesman said. Since the West Rail project was unapproved, it would be imprudent to hire a lot of permanent staff, the spokesman added.