Hong Kong – With about 500 thrilled passengers on board, the first MTR Vibrant Express high speed train departed from Hong Kong West Kowloon Station for Shenzhenbei Station at 7:00am on 23 September 2018, marking the official commencement of passenger service for the “Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong” High Speed Rail (Hong Kong Section) which connects Hong Kong to the over 25,000 km national high speed rail network.
“The brand new cross-boundary railway service offers fast, convenient and comfortable connections to the Mainland of China. Passengers can complete both Hong Kong and Mainland clearance procedures in one place at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station and then board trains to 44 Mainland destinations directly without interchange, providing them with a good travel choice for leisure or business. With Hong Kong’s advantageous geographical location, I hope the High Speed Rail (Hong Kong Section) not only brings closer regional ties, but also fully unleashes its economic benefits,” said Professor Frederick Ma, Chairman of MTR Corporation.
“The success of the service commencement of the High Speed Rail (Hong Kong Section) today is the result of the hard work of our colleagues. The preparation for the service commencement of the High Speed Rail (Hong Kong Section) has been more challenging than local metro services, and I would like to thank colleagues from different departments for their dedication and concerted efforts,” Professor Ma added.
Mr Lincoln Leong, Chief Executive Officer of MTR Corporation, arrived at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station early in the morning to show his support for High Speed Rail’s operations staff and other MTR colleagues, and personally open the station for happy passengers who were waiting to experience the long-anticipated high speed train service. The passengers cheered and rushed into the station when the station opened, and took photos in the iconic atrium of the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station before starting their journey.
Later on, Mr Frank Chan, Secretary for Transport and Housing, joined Professor Ma, Mr Leong and other MTR management representatives for a celebration at the station concourse to kickstart the new railway service before inviting passengers to start their journey. The officiating guests also distributed souvenirs to passengers to mark the historic occasion and thanked them for their support.
On the first train departing for Shenzhenbei, accompanied by Mr Adi Lau, Operations Director of MTR Corporation and Ms Linda So, Corporate Affairs Director of MTR Corporation, Mr Leong greeted the passengers as a special train purser before the train started the 19-minute journey.
In general, during the first day of operation up to 6:00pm, the station operations and train service have run smoothly and a total of 95 train pairs (82 short haul train pairs, and 13 medium to long haul train pairs) are scheduled to operate services today. MTR Corporation has been maintaining close communication with China Railway Corporation (CRC) on the schedule of the High Speed Rail (Hong Kong Section) to meet the needs of passengers in both Hong Kong and the Mainland. CRC will make adjustments to the service frequency in accordance with the latest operational conditions to meet the demand of passengers from both sides. Passengers can check the latest information on the train frequency and timetable through the online ticketing system or tele-ticketing hotline of the High Speed Rail (Hong Kong Section).