WSJ: Hong Kong Lawmakers to Vote on Express Train to Mainland
While I'm in favour of train travel, and generally much prefer it to plane or bus travel, I think a lot rubbish is being sprouted on all sides about the issue.
First the proposed location: West Kowloon is convenient for me as I live in Kowloon. But for people living in the NT it will mean a trip in the opposite direction to use the station, while for people on HK island, there would not be much difference between travelling to West Kowloon and travelling a few minutes more to a station in the NT at Kam Sheung Road.
Cost: HK$66.9 billion is a lot of money. Especially as the usually suspects will make money from the project. And I have no doubt the final cost will be higher.
Journey Times: It's reported that it will be 45 minutes to Guangzhou, as opposed to nearly 2 hours now. However, now you are going to the centre of Guangzhou, while in the future it would be to an outlying suburb of Guangzhou. So, not that much of an improvement. For longer trips, such as Beijing and Shanghai, there is a halving of journey times to around 10 hours. But, on a journey time of 10 hours, you are not that worried about it taking a few minutes longer to get to the station which is not in the city centre - as long as there are good connections to it.
Number of Passengers: A quoted statistic by Eva Cheng is that "660,000 people travel from HK to the Mainland every week." However, if they just go to Shenzhen or Dongguan, then the new express train won't help them much. Is the new train line being built to create demand, or to meet existing demand?
Villagers in the NT: I think they are just holding out for very high compensation packages. They don't have much sympathy from me, given the destruction of most of the countryside in that area.
Integration in to Mainland Economy: Are people serious if they believe HK will be left behind if the train station is in the NT rather than Kowloon West?
Democratic Opposition: I think to some extent it is a case if the Government has a policy we will oppose it out of bloodymindedness.
For me, I think save the money and put it in the NT. Then improve transport links to it from the rest of Hong Kong.