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Super-Fast Train To Hong Kong Opening Soon

Video from CGTN Live: Travel to Hong Kong on a high-speed train 

Photo from http://www.mtr.com.hk

Travel between Hong Kong and Shenzhen is about to be revolutionized with the opening of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL). Beginning from Sunday September 23rd, travelers from Shenzhen will be able to take a train from Futian station to West Kowloon in Hong Kong in just 14 minutes.

Photo from Wikicommon

Until now, travelers typically either crossed the border on foot at Luohu and took the long subway journey, bought a ticket for a bus at Shenzhen Bay, crossed by car at Huanggang, or traveled by ferry in Shekou. The new XRL is about to change all that.

Where does the XRL go and how long does it take?

The XRL will stop at 7 stations, six of which are in Mainland China and one in Hong Kong. Below is a list of the stations and how long they take to reach starting in Hong Kong.

  • West Kowloon – Station of departure
  • Futian – 14 mins
  • Shenzhen North – 23 mins
  • Guangming – To be confirmed
  • Humen – 30 mins
  • Qingsheng – To be confirmed
  • Guangzhou South – 48 mins

futian station

Photo: Wikicommons 

How much are tickets and how can I buy them?

Tickets for the XRL will be available at all departure stations. For Mainland China, keep checking Ctrip for when online ticket purchases become available. For Hong Kong, refer to the MTR official website. Below is a list of the ticket prices.

  • West Kowloon – Station of departure
  • Futian – HKD80
  • Shenzhen North – HKD90
  • Guangming – To be confirmed
  • Humen – HKD210
  • Qingsheng – To be confirmed
  • Guangzhou South – HKD280

Where do I pass through immigration control? Is it the same as other SZ-HK Borders?

No, it’s not, and that actually has been the source of a lot of controversy during the development and construction of the XRL. For the first time, a joint checkpoint will be in operation at the Shenzhen-Hong Kong border.

This development has been prominent in the local news in recent years as the public and politicians alike consider the ramifications of such a move. For the everyday travelers, however, the joint checkpoint has the potential to severely cut down on the time spent going through immigration and customs.

Not only does the XRL stand to be faster than any other travel option to Hong Kong, it will also likely have the quickest immigration and customs check too.

Is it convenient to reach other areas of Hong Kong from West Kowloon station?

Of course, it depends where you want to go, but generally speaking, the West Kowloon station is conveniently located and well-linked with other transport in Hong Kong.

To get to Central, first you need to take the walk bridge to Kowloon station. From there, take the Tung Chung line to Hong Kong station and walk from Hong Kong station to Central. Estimated travel time from West Kowloon station, including walking, is 30 – 40 minutes.

To get to Hong Kong International Airport, take the walk bridge again to Kowloon station. From there, take the Airport Express line to Airport. Estimated travel time from West Kowloon station, including walking, is 40 – 50 minutes.

Can I use the XRL to travel to other parts of Mainland China?

map

*Source of information: Transport and Housing Bureau

You can, and although it does not change much for most in that respect, it does make certain journeys more convenient for some people living in Shenzhen. For example, those living near Futian no longer need to travel to Shenzhen North or Luohu to take the train to Dongguan or Guangzhou.

Now, they can take the XRL train and be in Dongguan in about 16 minutes and Guangzhou in 34 minutes. From there, travelers can carry onto the rest of the country using the extensive high speed network in Mainland China.

The next step in improving Hong Kong and Mainland travel links

Regardless, the XRL is a major step forward in bringing Hong Kong closer to the Mainland. With the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge ready to open later this year and the Sha Tin to Central line coming by 2021, it’s never been easier to travel to Hong Kong from Guangdong.

All eyes in the region will turn to West Kowloon Station at 7 AM on Sunday September 23rd as the GZ-SZ-HK High-Speed Rail Link goes on its maiden journey. It will not be long before plenty of residents in Shenzhen will be using it to head into Hong Kong.

Written by Rory Lawless