Hong Kong Tramways.

CHINA: Veolia Transport has signed an agreement with Wharf Holdings to buy a 50% stake in Hong Kong Tramways. Veolia will assume responsibility for operating and managing the network, which opened in 1904 and now carries 240 000 passengers a day on 163 tramcars, the only entirely double-deck fleet remaining.

The agreement signed on April 7 is part of Veolia’s strategy to expand its urban rail activities in China. 'We see China as the most important market in our global strategic growth plan', said Cyrille du Peloux, CEO of Veolia Transport. 'We are fully committed to the long-term development and operation of Hong Kong’s tram network', he emphasised. 'We recognise its ongoing success as a niche mode of transport in Hong Kong.'

Veolia understands that the tramway is 'a unique piece of cultural heritage', and du Peloux said enhancements 'may not necessarily impact the overall outlook and design of the tramcar itself, but rather in terms of management, technical service, overall safety and operational efficiency, and the quality of passenger service.'