Asia Pacific Rail 2017 Event Highlights: Interview with Dr. Jacob Kam

MTR Corporation is known to be one of the most reliable metro systems in the world, with a punctuality rate of 99.9%. Its influence has spread beyond Hong Kong, it’s now operating in UK, Mainland China, Australia and Sweden.

After his keynote presentation on The Future of Rail, we had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Jacob Kam, Managing Director, Operations & Mainland Business, MTR Corporation to find out more about MTR’s key developments in the next few years.

1.How is the rail industry going to evolve in the next 5-10 years?

In the last few years, we see a lot of technology changes and we believe that it will only accelerate the change of the industry. We’re also seeing a lot of new builds and a lot of the old systems are upgrading with the latest control and train technologies, so we are expecting a lot of changes in the coming future.

2. Is MTR Corporation investing in more technologies?

We are expanding worldwide and from the global experience that we get, we are now taking steps to improve our performance to meet rising customer expectation. The way that we employ technology is a customer-focused approach so we look at what the customer needs first, then hopefully we deploy the right technology to meet their needs.

3. What are the key projects that MTR is currently engaged in?

We have been building up the Hong Kong network. There are 2 major projects that are still going on in Hong Kong – one is the Shatin Central Link which will connect New Territories into Hong Kong Island, there will be a new cross-harbour tunnel built under this project. We are also completing the work for the high speed rail sector in Hong Kong so that we can connect to the high speed rail network in China.

In the rest of the world, we are heavily investing in China’s metro systems. They will be building nearly 6000km of metro lines in the next 10 years. Of course we cannot do them all, but we will try to do some of those. We are also investing in Australia, in Sydney. We continue to operate in Europe and hopefully there would be some more investment opportunities as well.

4. What are the key challenges in operating overseas?

The challenges are to do with people, in terms of customers, cultures, expectations as well as work culture. We have to learn to work in different work environment and cultures, be it customers or staff.

5. How do you find Asia Pacific Rail 2017?

The event is great. It’s getting better every year and that’s why I keep coming.

Want to find out the latest updates in the Asia-Pacific rail industry? Join us at Asia Pacific Rail 2018 to meet the rail leaders.

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