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Mainland, HK Resume High-speed Trains

By Chai Hua, Xi Tianqi, Chinadaily|Jan 16,2023

Hong Kong ushered in on Sunday the first batch of visitors taking the high-speed rail from the Chinese mainland after a three-year hiatus. Expressing happiness over the resumption of the rail service, they are visiting Hong Kong for reunion, business and a vacation they longed for.

Passengers line up at checkpoints at Lok Ma Chau Station in Hong Kong on Jan 8, 2023 after the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong resumed normal travel after three years. (Edmond Tang/Chinadaily)

Boarding the first train leaving for Hong Kong at 7:24 from Shenzhen North station, a young couple, Chen Yiming and his wife from Wuhan, Hubei province, said they were expecting a sweet honeymoon in Hong Kong.

"We had to postpone our honeymoon due to the pandemic, and I now finally can make it up for my wife," Chen said.

They plan to spend five days in Hong Kong.

Passengers from the Chinese mainland pose for a photo on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at Guangzhoudong railway Station on Jan 15, 2023. (Parker Zheng/Chinadaily)

Pu Ruoxuan was also on the same train. "I need to travel to Hong Kong very frequently because of work. The reopening of the high-speed train is very convenient for me because it goes to the Hong Kong downtown area," Pu said.

He wanted to take train back to Shenzhen in the afternoon, but the tickets for the way back were sold out, so now he will take the land option.

Pu said he would opt for the high-speed train again in the future for the twice-a-week visit to Hong Kong.

A woman surnamed Wu and her family were one of the earliest to arrive at the Shenzhen North Railway Station on Sunday morning to catch the first train to Hong Kong.

Passengers from the Chinese mainland prepare to board the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at Guangzhoudong railway station on Jan 15, 2023. (Parker Zheng/Chinadaily)

They will transfer at the Hong Kong International Airport to Taiwan on the same day. She said the entire process was very smooth.

For young student Rong Chenwen, boarding the first bullet train to Hong Kong is to catch the concert of her idol Blackpink, a South Korean girl band, on Sunday evening. "I would have missed the concert had it not for the resumption of cross-boundary travels," Rong said.

Catching the first train in early morning would give her ample time to see the city, Rong said.

Passengers from the Chinese mainland wait for their trip to the HKSAR on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at Guangzhoudong railway station on Jan 15, 2023. (Parker Zheng/Chinadaily)

Becky Ip, deputy executive director of the Hong Kong Tourism Board, told China Daily at the West Kowloon Station on Sunday that the city's tourism attractions have rolled out new projects to draw tourists after the resumption of cross-boundary travels. It is worth taking a tour at both sides of the Victoria Harbour, which are sprawled with art installations, Ip said.

At Hong Kong side, the city's rail operator MTR prepared a gift pack for the first incoming visitors, with a balloon arch at the arriving concourse. The gift pack included cash coupons at malls, luggage tag, and a box of face masks.

Receiving the gift pack, Huang Bing-yen from Taiwan was satisfied with his first high-speed rail trip to Hong Kong to visit his family. It was a smooth ride that only took about 20 minutes, Huang said, adding he would come back to the city again for work.

Passengers from the Chinese mainland prepare to board the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link at Guangzhoudong railway Station on Jan 15, 2023. (Parker Zheng/Chinadaily)

On Sunday, Hong Kong and the mainland resumed their high-speed train services, with tickets each way capped at 5,000 per day.The number of high-speed train tickets is in addition to the 60,000 daily quota set for HK residents traveling to the mainland since the quarantine-free travel began on Jan 8.

Passengers arrive at the West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong as high-speed train services resumed between the SAR and the Chinese mainland on Jan 15, 2023. (Calvin NG/Chinadaily)

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