Following almost 20 years of planning and construction, the Hong Kong Express Rail Link will fully open on September 23rd, connecting the city with the rest of mainland China’s 25,000-kilometre-long national high-speed rail network for the first time.
The Hong Kong Express Rail Link, also known as the Vibrant Express, will travel through 44 stations across China’s high-speed rail network including Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing.
Trains will operate at maximum speeds of 200 kilometres per hour and will connect Hong Kong with Guangzhou in just 48 minutes (down from two hours) and Beijing in nine hours (down from 24 hours).
There will be 114 pairs of trains operating six short haul routes, while 13 pairs of trains will service 38 long haul destinations each day.
Dawn Page, director, UK and Northern Europe at Hong Kong Tourism Board, commented: “The launch of the Vibrant Express is an exciting and important development which further strengthens Hong Kong’s renowned status as an international hub for leisure and business travellers.
“The connection by high speed rail will enable visitors to take advantage of luxury train holidays throughout China, using our city as the starting or finishing point for their holiday.”
Trains will be leaving and arriving at the West Kowloon Station, one of the largest underground high-speed rail stations in the world.
Designed by Andrew Bromberg, it has received 19 international design accolades to date including winning the Future Infrastructure Projects award at the World Architecture Festival Awards 2010.
The station boasts a magnificent glass façade comprising 4,000 glass panels varying in size, shape and curvature.
Some 8,000 tonnes of steel have been used to support the glass walls of the station (approximately the weight of the Eiffel Tower) and 700 trees and shrubs have been planted to create an urban oasis.
The station’s rooftop has also been designed with a pedestrian skywalk to provide visitors with a panoramic view of Victoria Harbour and Hong Kong’s skyline.
The West Kowloon Station is located adjacent to the West Kowloon District, a new arts and cultural landmark in Hong Kong which will fully open by 2022 and will include an Art Park, the Xiqu Centre, M+ Museum, They Lyric Theatre and Hong Kong Palace Museum.
Tickets will start from HK$274 (approximately £27) to Guangzhou South and HK$1,240 (approximately £123) to Beijing.
Image Courtesy: Courtesy of MTR