Fast track to Bay Area integration
A second-class ticket from West Kowloon Station to Shenzhen North costs HK$86 ($11). [China Daily]
High-speed railway joins infrastructure improvements connecting hugely prosperous area
When the first high-speed train rolled out of West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong at 7 am on Sunday, it marked a major step in the rapidly evolving Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area development initiative.
The Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, also known as XRL, is only 26 kilometers long.
But it means travelers can make the trip between the heart of Hong Kong and the central business district in Shenzhen, Guangdong province, in 14 minutes. And Guangzhou, the provincial capital, is only about 50 minutes away.
It eliminates almost an hour of travel time compared with other forms of transportation such as intercity trains or cross-boundary buses.
More than 300,000 tickets were sold on Sunday, when 10 local tour groups left from West Kowloon for various mainland destinations, according to MTR Corp, the link's operator.
The new railway is expected to carry 80,100 cross-boundary passengers daily by the end of this year, officials with the Hong Kong Transport and Housing Bureau said.