XRL: Bridging the high‑speed gap between Hong Kong and Mainland China

Jeremy Long, Chief Executive Officer – European Business of MTR Corporation, provides a project overview of the 26km-long Hong Kong Section of the impressive Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL), including tunnel construction methods, details of the new Hong Kong West Kowloon Station and the overall benefits that will be attainable once the line is complete.


XRL high-speed trains will operate at speeds up to 300km/h on the above-ground Mainland Section

Although geographic neighbours, Hong Kong and Mainland China have never had a high-speed rail connection. For decades Hong Kong has had a high quality and modern rail system and in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s Railway Development Strategy 2000, the idea for the Guangzhou–Shenzhen– Hong Kong Express Rail Link, or XRL, began to gather pace. In 2008, MTR Corporation was invited by the Hong Kong Government to carry out the planning and design of the 26km-long Hong Kong Section of the high-speed rail line connecting Hong Kong with Mainland China’s currently 25,000km-long and ever-expanding high-speed rail network.

Representing an investment of HK$86 billion (approximately £8 billion), construction of the Hong Kong Section began in January 2010, with the project expected to be commissioned in September 2018. Upon completion, high-speed trains on the new line will run across Hong Kong, to Shenzhen and to Guangzhou within an hour. The Hong Kong Section of the XRL will operate in entirely dedicated tunnels, which added to the enormity of the project.

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