The Express Rail Link must have trains heading to Shanghai and Beijing, Secretary for Transport and Housing Anthony Cheung Bing-leung said yesterday after meeting with mainland rail authorities in the capital.
But Cheung said they did not discuss the controversial co-location immigration clearance arrangement at the Hong Kong terminus amid the SAR’s goal of concluding the talks within the current term and launching the rail in the third quarter next year.
Cheung visited rail operator China Railway and regulator National Railway Administration.
They had a comprehensive discussion over operation details.
“We hope the Guangzhou- Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link can fulfill its purpose of connecting [the SAR] to major mainland cities, especially those frequented by Hongkongers, once it is launched,” Cheung said. “That’s why we had a comprehensive discussion today about operation of short-haul and long-haul trains during the initial launch, and how we should expand services in the long run.”
Frequency of services during working days and peak periods such as public holidays were also discussed, he added.
Meanwhile, the delegation led by Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying to “Big Bay area” visited Guangzhou South Station, which will be the mainland terminus of the rail.
The rail will allow commuters to connect to all parts of the mainland, rail experts told the delegation.
Lin Jun, chief planner of Guangzhou Land Resources and Planning Commission, said people can in fact go to Urumqi on a mainland train and from there to Europe.
The tour also included a stop at a robotics factory in Foshan, featuring demonstrations of robotic arms and robots doing traditional lion dances.
In the afternoon, the group visited Zhaoqing city and Jiangmen city to know more about their latest developments. Zhaoqing’s new development area is 115,000 square meters big – able to accommodate 600,000 residents. It is Big Bay area’s gateway to Southwest China.