Hong Kong opens high-speed train link with mainland China

Hong Kong opens high-speed train link with mainland China

Protests in Hong Kong over high-speed rail link to China

Government officials say the rail link will boost businesses in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou.

Important information to note for interested train goers: tickets purchased from the MTR Corp must be printed in Hong Kong, while people who buy their tickets from 12306.com need to have them printed on the Chinese mainland.

A high-speed rail link has been launched in Hong Kong, connecting the territory with mainland China.

Thousands of journalists, tourists and train enthusiasts queued for hours to become the first passengers to travel from West Kowloon Station - located in central Hong Kong - to the Chinese city of Guangzhou aboard the new $10 billion rail link.

A second-class ticket to Shenzhen costs HK$86 (S$15), while travelling to Guangzhou costs HK$247 and to Beijing, HK$1,237.

At least two more large-scale cross-border infrastructure construction projects are about to be completed between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland - the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge in the west of the Hong Kong SAR and Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point in the northeast of the Hong Kong SAR.

Al Jazeera's Sarah Clarke, reporting from Hong Kong, said the project attracted criticism for being behind schedule and expensive.

Outside the station, there is a wealth of entertainment and attractions for visitors who want to enjoy shopping, dining, or a taste of traditional Hong Kong.

The new high-speed railway will travel at 200 kph (or 120 mph) to 44 destinations in the mainland and is expected to see an estimated 70 to 82 trains pass through Hong Kong's new West Kowloon station daily. The Greater Bay Area would comprise 68 million people and span 56,500 square kilometers in southern China, an area that is now managed by three governments with three separate borders and three different legal systems.

Under Hong Kong's miniconstitution - the Basic Law - China's national laws do not apply to the city apart from in limited areas, including defense.

The length of China's high-speed rail network had totaled 25,000 kilometers by the end of 2017, the longest of its kind in the world. That guarantees Hong Kong the right to maintain rights such as freedom of speech and assembly - which are routinely violated on the mainland - until 2047.

Hong Kong's controversial bullet train got off to a smooth start on Sunday (Sept 23), as hundreds of passengers whistled north across the border at speeds of up to 200kmh, deepening integration of the financial hub with the Chinese mainland.

"I don't know whether it is really good if we just become another city in the Guangdong province".

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