The highly-anticipated Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) is scheduled for a test run from Hong Kong to Shenzhen by the middle of this year, according to a CCTV News report. The route will be fully operational by late 2018.
Once open, a train ride from Guangzhou South Railway Station to West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong will take a mere 48 minutes, while the trip from Shenzhen Futian Station, the world’s second largest underground railway station, will take 15 minutes.
Currently, the trip from Guangzhou East Railway Station to Hung Hom Station in Hong Kong takes about two hours.
The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong XRL, also known in Chinese as Guangshen’gang gaotie, is part of the Beijing-Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong XRL operated by China Railway. The Guangzhou-Shenzhen segment has been running since 2011, whereas the Shenzhen (Futian) – Hong Kong (Kowloon) connection is in its final phase of construction.
According to MTR, the Hong Kong railway company in charge of constructing the Hong Kong-Shenzhen section of the railroad, the project was nearing 87 percent completion at the end of 2016. The first test train arrived in Hong Kong in September, 2016, and a second train pulled into Kowloon in January of this year.
The Guangzhou-Hong Kong express rail is 145 kilometers in length, with seven stops: Guangzhou South, Qingshen (Guangzhou), Humen (Dongguan), Guangmingcheng (Shenzhen), Shenzhen North, Futian and West Kowloon.
The bullet trains running on the express rail have traveled as high as 487 kilometers per hour in test runs, with 275 kilometers per hour being the lowest speed, which is faster than the speed at which a jetliner typically takes off.