A MASTER plan for the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) was recently unveiled, marking a breakthrough in the cross-border railway project.
According to the plan, the XRL will run for a total of 146 kilometers, with the Guangdong section extending 116 kilometers. The rail line will open in 2014.
When completed, the XRL will provide high-speed rail services from Hong Kong to Guangzhou and a connection to the national high-speed passenger rail network serving major mainland cities outside Guangdong Province. Travel time from Guangzhou to Hong Kong will be reduced to 40 minutes, just under half the time it now takes.
Starting at Guangzhou South Railway Station (New Guangzhou Railway Station), the rail line will pass Pan Yu and Dongguan before connecting with Shenzhen North Railway Station (New Shenzhen Railway Station) and passing underground to Huanggang Checkpoint.
The Hong Kong section of the rail line will connect West Kowloon Terminus to the mainland section by passing through Mai Po Nature Reserve, Shek Kong and urban Kowloon. The 26-kilometer Hong Kong section will be entirely underground.
More than 80 percent of the planned investment has gone into Phase I of the project, which runs from Guangzhou South Railway Station to Shenzhen North Railway Station. Track-laying has already started on this section, which is scheduled to open by the end of this year.
Phase II, from Shenzhen North Railway Station to Futian Transport Hub, is scheduled to be finished in the second half of 2012.