A spokesman for the Transport and Housing Bureau stated on Monday that local and mainland authorities will be independently responsible for their respective sections of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

Responding to media enquiries, the spokesman denied that the entire rail link would be managed by an operational control centre in Guangzhou. He stressed that an agreement had been adopted whereby both sides will operate independently and that there was no plan to switch to a joint venture model.

Under the agreement, high speed rail operations in Hong Kong will be independently monitored and controlled by a centre at Shek Kong. The centre will be providing stabling, cleaning, and maintenance services for the line.

Photo montage of the Shek Kong Stabling Sidings and Emergency Rescue Siding. Photo: MTRC.

The spokesman added that although the control centres in Shek Kong and Guangzhou can obtain train dispatch information via a centralised system, and may also communicate from time to time, the Guangzhou control centre would only operate in the mainland section of the system.

The project raised concerns in Hong Kong about the level of cooperation between the mainland and Hong Kong, specifically regarding the issue of immigration checkpoints. The potential for joint border checkpoints between Hong Kong and the mainland was a point of contention during the early stages of the project. Polls showed that 44 percent of Hongkongers believed that such an arrangement would damage the One Country, Two Systems principle despite Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying stating that any alternatives are “unfeasible.”

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Isaac Cheung

Isaac Cheung is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism and Politics and Public Administration at the University of Hong Kong. During the Occupy Central protests, Isaac worked as an editor and reporter at LIVE: Verified Updates, a bilingual news page founded and maintained by HKU journalism students. He has also worked at Coconuts Hong Kong as a reporter.