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XRL Hong Kong section to hold trial runs in April

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-01-30 22:03

HONG KONG - Trial runs will be held on April 1 in the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL), said Chairman of the MTR Corporation Ltd. Frederick Ma Si-hang Tuesday.

Ma also urged lawmakers of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) to give green light to the co-location arrangement.

"There is still some fix-up works but basically the station is complete," Ma told Xinhua in an interview.

He said that the 26-km Hong Kong section of the XRL will link up Hong Kong with the mega high-speed rail network of the Chinese Mainland, which has a total length of more than 25,000 km.

Upon the commissioning of the XRL Hong Kong section, the position of Hong Kong as an international city will definitely be promoted, he said, especially when the rail network further extends in the future.

Over 98 percent of the construction of the Hong Kong section is complete and it is expected to commission services before the third quarter of 2018, he added.

There are nine XRL trains in total running from Hong Kong to Guangzhou, according to Ma, saying that the cabins are smaller and there is no restaurant compared with those in the mainland.

The short-haul trains will run between the West Kowloon station and the Futian, Shenzhen North, Humen and Guangzhou South stations.

The West Kowloon Station is terminus to the XRL, where passengers will go through the customs, immigration and quarantine procedures of both Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland successively.

However, before the co-location arrangement can be implemented at the West Kowloon station, the XRL Co-location Bill has to be given three readings in the SAR's Legislative Council (LegCo).

The bill will be introduced into the LegCo for the first reading Wednesday.

"I hope that the LegCo members stand for the co-location arrangement and let the bill passed," Ma said, "We have no 'Plan B' for the co-location arrangement as there is no customs facilities in Futian and Shenzhen North."

Ma emphasized the convenience of the co-location arrangement, saying that it will save the passengers a lot of time. Without it, the attraction of the XRL will largely be reduced.

As estimated by the SAR government, about 100,000 people will travel on the XRL Hong Kong section every day when launched, Ma said, "I'm sure that it will be very popular and the number may go beyond that."

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