Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor appraised the convenience of high-speed railways after traveling with her family to Guilin, the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region, for a holiday on Saturday.
Lam, a self-appointed ambassador of the high=speed railways, posted a video on her social media platform with her personal experience on the train.
In the video, Lam mentioned that she had to make several detours to the Shenzhen North Railway Station before boarding the train to Guilin because the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, known as the XRL, is not yet in operation.
Her family had to go to the Lok Ma Chau checkpoint and then to the Shenzhen North Railway station.
Once the XRL begins service in the third quarter of 2018, along with its planned joint checkpoint arrangement, the public will be able to board the bullet train at West Kowloon Station, travel to Shenzhen and change trains to Guilin and other cities on the mainland, Lam said.
Lam said she will ask the National Railway Administration for more trains that travel directly from Hong Kong to Guilin and other mainland cities to reduce the need to change trains.
This is Lam's third time in taking bullet trains on the mainland and posting videos to share her experiences. She has gone on several high-speed train trips to experience the convenience since taking office on July 1. In August, she took a 45-minute bullet train from Shanghai to Hangzhou and was amazed by the efficiency and convenience. Also in August, she spent 30 minutes on a train from Tianjin to Beijing.
The 26-kilometer XRL, which is expected to have Hong Kong and mainland customs clearance at the West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, is one of the many anticipated infrastructure projects in the 11-city cluster of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area. It will cut the commute between the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region and Guangzhou from around two hours to less than 50 minutes.
Moreover, with its opening, Hong Kong will be plugged into the Chinese mainland's extensive high-speed rail networks. Hong Kong is expected to gain economic momentum with deepening exchanges of trade and people.
The Standing Committee of the National People's Congress began deliberations in its bimonthly session that started on Friday in Beijing about the XRL's joint checkpoint arrangement. The arrangement is expected to be put to a vote on Wednesday. It is the second step of a three-step process concerning the co-location arrangement after an agreement on the joint checkpoint was signed on Nov 18 between the mainland and Hong Kong SAR.
In completing the process, the Hong Kong SAR will enact it through local legislation once it receives a green light from the Standing Committee.