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CE meets with General Manager of China Railway and witnesses signing of MoU on arrangements for preparation of key operational issues for XRL Hong Kong Section

The Chief Executive, Mrs Carrie Lam, met with the General Manager of China Railway Corporation (CR), Mr Lu Dongfu, at Government House this morning (January 29).

Mrs Lam welcomed the delegation led by Mr Lu and expressed gratitude for the staunch support rendered by CR in the preparation for the operation of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL).

Mrs Lam pointed out that after she met with Mr Lu in Beijing in August last year, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government and CR immediately established a High-level Liaison Mechanism. She said she was pleased to note the progress of discussions made under the Mechanism in the past few months. The two parties agreed to maintain close liaison and co-operation under the Mechanism and expedite the preparatory work for the operation of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL.

After the meeting, Mrs Lam and Mr Lu witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on the Arrangements for Preparation of Key Operational Issues for the Hong Kong Section of the XRL by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Mr Frank Chan Fan, and the Director of the General Office of CR, Mr Han Jiangping.

Mrs Lam said, "I am glad that the HKSAR Government and CR signed the Memorandum today. It marks the reaching of consensus in principle on financial and operational matters by both parties, and lays a sound foundation for the commissioning of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL in the third quarter this year and its smooth operation subsequently.

"The achievements of CR in co-ordinating the development and operation of the national high-speed rail network are remarkable. The HKSAR Government thanks CR for its active support for the preparatory work of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL. CR not only shares experience, but also provides assistance to ensure the connection of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL with the national high-speed rail network. Upon commissioning, the Hong Kong Section of the XRL will be connected to the expanding national high-speed rail network. The mutual access will foster exchanges among Hong Kong and Mainland cities and facilitate complementary development."

Mr Lu said he was grateful for the warm reception by the HKSAR Government and the importance and care attached by Mrs Lam to the commissioning and operation of the XRL. He said, "With the support of the Central Government and the general public, CR has been making good use of its professional strength to promote the development of an efficient and quality high-speed rail network. With a total length of more than 25 000 kilometres, which accounts for over 66 per cent of the high-speed railway around the world, our high-speed rail reinvents travel experience and increases people's sense of gain."

Mr Lu pointed out that the XRL is an important part of the national high-speed rail network. The connection of the XRL to the high-speed rail network of the Mainland is underpinned by the Central Government's support for Hong Kong's prosperity and development. He said he would be glad to see Hong Kong residents share the benefits generated by the high-speed rail development all over the country. The Liaison Mechanism for enhanced rail co-operation established after the meeting of the two parties in Beijing in August last year has made significant progress in taking forward the preparation for the commissioning of the XRL.

Mr Lu said, "The signing of the Memorandum marks a new chapter in the preparation for the operation of the XRL. CR will follow through with the requirements of the Central Government and, with its technical and professional expertise in the railway industry, give its greatest support to the HKSAR Government and the MTR Corporation Limited in facilitating preparatory work. We will work together towards the safe and quality commissioning of the XRL in the third quarter of 2018 to bring a joyful travel experience to the general public of Hong Kong and the Mainland."

According to the Memorandum, both parties plan to operate 127 train pairs daily, comprising 114 pairs of short-haul trains and 13 pairs of long-haul trains at the early stage of commissioning. The short-haul trains will run between West Kowloon Station and the Futian, Shenzhen North, Humen and Guangzhou South stations. There will be direct long-haul trains to cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, Guilin, Guiyang, Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Hangzhou, Nanchang, Fuzhou, Xiamen and Shantou. Both parties also agreed that the train schedule could be adjusted subject to the actual operational needs.

The full text of the Memorandum and a glossary of the technical terms used in the Memorandum are in Annex I and Annex II (both in Chinese only).

29.1.2018


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