First Look: Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-Speed Rail Opens

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High-speed rail train in West Kowloon © User:N509FZ / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0

The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-Speed Railway, also known as the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, is a new high-speed railway which links Guangzhou, Dongguan, Shenzhen and Hong Kong. The High-Speed Railway was formally put into use at 6:44 on September 23rd.

The MTR Corporation held a naming contest and the name “Vibrant Express” won out among more than 16,000 suggestions. Some citizens also affectionately call it “The Red Mouse” because the designer used a large amount of red color on it to show the vitality of Hong Kong’s society and its economy.

With this new transportation option, the time cost from Guangdong Province to Hong Kong was greatly shortened. For instance, a single trip from Shenzhen to Hong Kong now takes a maximum of 14 minutes, while the journey from Guangzhou to Hong Kong is reduced to 48 minutes.

I have taken the 10:03 train from Shenzhen to Hong Kong on the first day of its commencement, so I am going to show you how to book a ticket, how to take the high-speed railway train and where to go after arriving at the following passage.

High-speed rail ticket

How to Book a Ticket

1. You can download an app called 12306 which is also an online booking website for both trains and the high-speed railway. Use your passport number to register and then you can start booking your own ticket.

2. Both Alipay and WeChat also have a connection to 12306. There is an icon labeled Air & Rail on the homepage on Alipay, if you cannot find it, please click “More” and search for it. On WeChat, follow the official account named CRTT12306 (or 铁路12306). None of the options above have an English version, if it is hard for you to read Chinese, you can ask your friend to book tickets for you.

3. Go to Shenzhen North Railway Station and book tickets at the ticket window.
ATTENTION: Foreigners are not able to use the self-service ticket machine to pick up their ticket because it is only available for the second-generation Chinese ID card. Therefore, if you book a ticket online, you should arrive earlier to get your ticket at the manual ticket collection window.

Route guide
1. From Peking University Shenzhen Graduate School to Shenzhen North Railway Station:
Taxi or Didi Taxi: around 25RMB, takes approximately 22 minutes.
Bus: bus no. M169, get on at 北大园区(Peking University Station) and get off at 深圳北汽车站(Shenzhen North Railway Station). 2RMB per person. Around 30 minutes.
Subway: Take subway Line 7 from 西丽湖(Xilihu Station) to 西丽(Xili Station), then transfer to Line 5 from 西丽(Xili Station) to 深圳北站(Shenzhen North Station).

2. From Shenzhen North Railway Station to Hong Kong West Kowloon Station: It is 75RMB for second-class seats, 120RMB for first-class seats and 226RMB for business-class seats, takes around 14-24 minutes. There is not an immigration formality before you get on the train. The procedure is done at West Kowloon Station.

3. Departure and Arrival: When you get off, you will reach B4 which is the platform floor. Then, take the elevator to go up to B2 to initially go through the departure procedure of mainland China followed by the arrival procedure of Hong Kong. Remember to keep the railway ticket with you because there is an auto-ticket reader afterward.

1. E-Channels are available for the people who have an E-Card, ones without an E-Card need to go through the manual channels. The West Kowloon Customs Office promises that the whole time for this process will be less than 30 minutes and relevant support will be provided for foreigners.

2. When you go back from Hong Kong to Shenzhen, both the departure and arrival procedures will be dealt with on B3 instead of B2.

3. Baggage allowance: 20kg for an adult, 10kg for a child and 35kg for a diplomat.

4. Most of the staff is able to communicate in Chinese, Cantonese and English.

Taking the High-Speed Rail

Is it as good as it sounds? It does seem like this is going to be the preferred way for most people to travel to Hong Kong from our campus in the future. We talked to some of the PKU Shenzhen students who took the high-speed train during its busy first two weeks. Check out their statements for some helpful information and tips before your first ride:

Nono Qian from SEE: Surprisingly fast! Too many people though. I also got a cute souvenir since it was the first day of its commencement.

Soryane from PHBS: Really good. It is amazingly fast! One thing I didn’t know is that you have to book tickets one hour in advance from Hong Kong to Shenzhen. And it takes some time to go through the customs. It’s like boarding a plane.

Zhou Lin from SEE: The first impression is super fast. It’s really much more convenient for mainlanders to visit Hong Kong, as it can save much time and effort. But I think the efficiency of e-channel should be improved.

Bastian from PHBS: All in all the train ride was very fast and convenient and is definitely the best choice if you want to go to Hong Kong. Especially from Shenzhen North Railway Station, which is close to our campus. However what I didn’t like that much was the experience at the railway station in Hong Kong. Because the area where you have to take your train is a bit jumbled and the process is not really working smoothly yet. Secondly, there is barely enough place to sit and wait for the people in this area and no shops to buy something to eat or drink.

Where to go after arriving in Hong Kong

Victoria Harbour

Harbour City, one of the largest and most diverse shopping malls in Hong Kong, can be seen within walking distance. After passing the auto-ticket reader, go through Exit A, and then follow Exit F. You could use Google Maps or just follow the crowd through the entrance of the mall. Harbour City offers a wide range of services including shopping, dining, entertainment, and sightseeing. Alongside the shopping mall, there is a famous tourist attraction called Victoria Harbour, and tourists can enjoy the fabulous harbour view.


More than 60 food & beverage places are available within the shopping mall. However, you can also go on a discovery and search for some local treats such as Sun Kee Cheese Noodle(新记餐厅), Mobile Softee(富豪雪糕车) in the streets and alleys.


Written by Luo Jiechunyi

Photos by Luo Jiechunyi (unless otherwise noted)

Rights Reserved


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