After airports, now it is British railways attracting the attention of Chinese investors. Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway corporation is to make a joint bid with Intercity firm GNER for a new integrated franchise covering Kent and the channel tunnel link that opens in three years time. It is in competition with three other shortlisted bidders for the plum, but may have an ace to play.
Hong Kong’s MTR claims a punctuality record of 99 percent, and status as the world’s most reliable railway, which will get the thumbs-up from the south east’s struggling commuters. What may be less welcome for those currently running the show is MTR’s stated intention to parachute in many of its own managers to run the new company the way it wants. However it will committ itself to a “substantially improved performance”. South eastern trains have been government-run since French operator Connex was dumped for poor financial controls.