11 March 2003
Integration of West Rail and Light Rail
 
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) announced today (11 March 2003) at the West Rail Building Inauguration Ceremony that a new division, West Rail Division (Operations), would be established on 1 April 2003 to manage the West Rail, Light Rail and the Corporation’s bus services.
Mr Michael Tien, Chairman of KCRC, said, "this arrangement will ensure a better integration of the West Rail and Light Rail services, thus benefiting the travelling public. At the same time, the resources can be deployed in a more cost-effective way."
"The new Division will have about 2,000 staff, representing a synergy saving of about 600 staff as compared with the original projection of operating West Rail as an independent division, " Mr Tien added.
The new Division will be headed by Mr Jonathan Yu, the present Director, Light Rail. He will become Director, West Rail (Operations), and is responsible for taking over and managing West Rail’s operation upon its completion. Mr Ian Thoms, the present Director, West Rail, will be renamed as Director, West Rail (Project), and is responsible for overseeing the project gearing to its completion.
With the objective to provide a fully integrated public transport service for residents in the Northwest New Territories, the existing Light Rail and Bus services will be re-structured so that they can effectively feed West Rail on the one hand, and maintain their role as local commuter services on the other.
Recruitment and training of West Rail staff commenced in 2002 with good progress. All operations and maintenance personnel will be trained for the required skills and knowledge to ensure safe and efficient operation of West Rail.
KCRC is putting top priority on ensuring that West Rail operates safely and efficiently from the day it opens to the public. An Operational Readiness Steering Committee, chaired by the Chief Executive Officer and an Operational Readiness Working group, co-chaired by Director, West Rail and Director, Light Rail were formed in late 2000. The former group is responsible for policy and strategy while the latter group will carry out the myriad activities - numbering 1,200 in total - required to start up a new railway operation in Hong Kong.
At the end of February 2003, West Rail works are 94% complete overall. Testing and commissioning of various railway systems as well as statutory inspections are now in full swing. All major milestones have been achieved either on time or ahead of schedule. The project is on target for revenue operation to commence in autumn this year.