Work on a rail link between Meizhou and Longchuan in Heyuan City started Sunday and will cut the trip between Shenzhen and Meizhou to 1.5 hours upon completion.
The link is the first regional high-speed rail approved and funded by Guangdong.
At an investment of 16.6 billion yuan (US$2.37 billion), the 95.6-km rail passes Meixian County, Xingning City, Wuhua County and Longchuan County and ends at Longchuan West Station, an interchange station with Ganzhou-Shenzhen High-speed Railway.
Upon completion after four years of construction, the high-speed rail at a designated speed of 350 kilometers per hour, will connect with Meizhou-Shantou High-speed Railway and Ganzhou-Shenzhen High-Speed Railway, bringing Meizhou in northeastern Guangdong much closer to Pearl River Delta cities. It will also help to form a rail network that connects the Pearl River Delta cities and the Yangtze River Delta cities.
At an inauguration ceremony in Xingning, Meizhou City, Guangdong Governor Ma Xingrui said the rail will play an important role in the development of the under-developed areas along the route and coordinated regional development in Guangdong Province.
At present, residents in Shenzhen can take high-speed trains to Meizhou through Xiamen-Shenzhen High-speed Railway and transfer to Meizhou-Shantou High-speed Railway at Chaoshan Station. The whole trip takes about three hours and 30 minutes.
Heyuan is the last prefecture-level city in Guangdong without high-speed rail service. In 2020, when the Shenzhen-Ganzhou High-speed Railway is put into use, Heyuan will also have joined China’s high-speed rail network.
When the Meizhou-Longchuan Link is completed, Shenzhen travelers will be able to take Shenzhen-Ganzhou High-speed Railway to Meizhou City and save about two hours on the trip compared to the present high-speed rail network.
Experts believe the rail will stimulate industry and tourism development in Heyuan and Meizhou, which are known for ecological tourism and red (revolution) tourism, because Meizhou, with a population of 5.14 million, is known as the hometown of Marshal Ye Jianying. Meizhou is also the hometown of Lee Kuan Yew, the former prime minister of Singapore.
Known as the “Capital of Hakka in the World,” Meizhou is home to millions of Hakka people, whose ancestors are believed to have moved from Central China to the south centuries ago. There were 120 million Hakka people living in over 70 countries and regions, according to a 2014 report.