The journey time from Hong Kong to Guangzhou via the upcoming cross-border high-speed rail will be more than the 48 minutes that the government has been proclaiming over the past few years.
The 48-minute travel time can be achieved only if the train moves non-stop from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, Apple Daily noted.
Shenzhen’s Futian railway station, which serves as a key link for the cross-border express rail, was put into operation on Dec. 30.
Several media personnel who joined in a trial run found that it took around 50 minutes for the train to reach Guangzhou after departing from the Futian station.
Now, if you add about 14 minutes of the expected travel from Hong Kong to Futian, the total journey time from Hong Kong to Guangzhou would be around 60 minutes, the paper noted.
Anthony Chueng Bing-leung, Hong Kong’s secretary for Transport and Housing Bureau, however defended the government’s claim of a sub-one hour journey.
Quizzed by reporters Sunday, Cheung said a 48-minute journey for a non-stop run has been well documented in LegCo discussions.
The 142-kilometer express rail will cut the current travel time between Hong Kong and Guangzhou by about half, he said.
An Apple Daily reporter who searched the LegCo records and the government website found that there was no specific mention that the 48-minute journey only pertains to a non-stop run.
Queried as to many direct trains will be arranged from Hong Kong’s West Kowloon to Guangzhou, Cheung said the matter needs further discussion with mainland authorities.
He also said that the express link will be connected to other high-speed rail lines in the mainland.
Gary Fan Kwok-wai, a lawmaker from Neo Democrats, criticized the government, saying that authorities had attempted to conceal the actual running time of the express rail link in a bid to win approval for the funding plan for the project back in 2009.
Albert Chan Wai-yip, another LegCo member, also said that the express rail plan has deviated from previous design. He slammed the government for misguiding the public and distorting the facts.
He noted that MTR Corp. chairman had admitted that the company had no clear picture on the potential operating situation of the express rail link as the ticket prices are yet to be determined.
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