Small step closer to new HK-Shenzhen railway

Top News | Michael Shum 15 Oct 2021

Hong Kong has set up a special office with Shenzhen to look into the construction of a new express railway between the two adjacent cities, with the first study to be completed next year, says Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan.

The railway will connect the western parts of the New Territories, covering Hung Shui Kiu and Ha Tsuen, to Qianhai in Shenzhen.

"After the first study is completed, the two cities will discuss further on the route of the railway, where the stations will be located, construction cost and cooperation mechanism between the two governments," Chan said on a radio program yesterday.

When developing the transport infrastructure in Northern Metropolis, land planning and distribution of employment opportunities will also be considered, he added.

As to whether these developments will pressure the East Rail and West Rail lines, Chan said the government had reviewed their capacities after the Tuen Ma Line launched.

During rush hour, only 30 percent of passengers head north. But as travel patterns could be affected by Covid-19, the situation will be assessed again after the pandemic eases. As for the extension of Northern Link to the east, he said there are various feasible options, including the Light Rail Transit system or self-driving trains.

On the construction of public housing, Chan, also chairman of the Housing Authority, said: "I would not say HA's construction speed is great, but not bad as less and less projects were delayed. Only one project was delayed in 2018 to 2019."

This was after Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor shared an "interesting idea" to have the HA pay the cash subsidies to applicants waiting for public housing for over three years.

It raised a howl among HA members who insisted they should not take the blame. Lam later clarified that it was a joke rather than a proposal.

Secretary for Development Wong Wai-lun said on the same radio program that although the Northern Metropolis will finish construction in 20 years, other new development areas will be able to provide housing earlier.

"The policy address proposed to review 300 hectares of green belt areas, which will not involve wetland conservation areas, and if there is a need, we will consider developing more green belt areas," Wong said.

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