In honor of the 15th Anniversary of the Hong Kong handover, this July 1 I decided to write about connecting Hong Kong to the mainland. I read this article on the WSJ , it purports while maintaining it’s own identity, Hong Kong needs to better integrate itself with the mainland at the same time. If it doesn’t, it’ll fall behind and be gobbled up by those massive cities on the mainland, and I agree.
Hong Kong is currently constructing the Express Rail Link to Guangdong Province, primarily Shenzhen and Guangzhou. After it’s planned completion in 2015 you can take a train from West Kowloon (next to Elements) to mainland China in a matter of minutes.
According to MTR’s web site, you can get from West Kowloon to Futian, Shenzhen in a mere 14 minutes, and Guangzhou in 48 minutes. This is insanely fast. (I can’t even get to West Kowloon from my apt on the HK side in 14 minutes.) Another trip I noticed was HK to Shanghai in only 6 hours vs 18 hours now (I assume you’ll have to transfer in GZ and Wuhan). Since I work at ICC and have seen the construction, it looks like 2015 is ambitious, but this’ll certainly have major impacts on tourists and business travel, and I think help maintain Hong Kong as a hub of entry to the mainland for the international community.
While most of the benefits will be between Hong Kong and Guangdong, I think many of places like Changsha, Wuhan, and Shanghai will still benefit. Only a few hours via train service makes it a strong competitor vs air travel, when you factor in cost and travel time to/from the airport, security checks, etc. This should also have a positive impact on the traveler’s wallet, since airlines should be pricing these routes more competitively once the Express Rail Link opens. I can’ wait till this project is completed, now if only they’ll give me a Chinese mainland visa!
Read about all of the interesting facts here: