The recommendations of the Railway Development study for the Western corridor are excellent news for the container port at Kwai Chung, which will be linked directly with the rail network in China. They will also be welcomed by the people of Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai. Not so, however the 364,000 inhabitants of Tuen Mun. They will have no direct rail link to Kowloon, even though 70 percent of the working population travels daily to the urban area. Instead, they will crowd into the Light Rail Transit (LRT) system for a roundabout trek via Yuen Long. The Government claims this will only add ten minutes to the journey, yet it is already clear the LRT will be unable to cope. Meanwhile the roads will be further congested by the opening of China's planned bridge to Zhuhai. Some of the Government's reasoning is sound. A Tuen Mun route could not share tracks with a China-bound freight system and would cost twice as much as the inland alignment to build. Yet it would serve a much larger travelling population. If the coastal route is too expensive, the link to Yam O on Lantau, which the Government recommends be built some time after 2011, should be built to come into service as soon as possible after the Lantau line opens in 1997. However, the Government's claim the new line would compete with the LRT is absurd. Not even the LRT is frightened by the supposed competition, rightly believing a new rail link at either end of its network will bring it new custom. The service will be overloaded within four years even without the extra traffic. Hongkong's laissez-faire image and the interests of its population are ill-served by the protected monopolies enjoyed by major utilities. When protection gets in the way of sensible solutions - such as upgrading the LRT to serve as an integral part of a new territory wide rail network - it is time to look again at competition policy.