A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on Monday between Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government and China Railways Corporation (CR) on the Arrangements for Preparation of Key Operational Issues for the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL).
According to the Memorandum, both parties plan to operate 127 train pairs daily, comprising 114 pairs of short-haul trains and 13 pairs of long-haul trains at the early stage of commissioning. Both parties also agreed that the train schedule could be adjusted subject to the actual operational needs.
The short-haul trains will run between West Kowloon Station and the Futian, Shenzhen North, Humen and Guangzhou South stations. There will be direct long-haul trains to cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Kunming, Guilin, Guiyang, Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Hangzhou, Nanchang, Fuzhou, Xiamen and Shantou.
Both sides have agreed to set the ticket price on their own, that is, the Mainland section and Hong Kong section of XRL set the price respectively. The price of the cross-border rail service will therefore be a total of the two.
Chan has revealed that the ticket price of the XRL from Hong Kong to Shenzhen Futian, Shenzhen North station and Humen is 80 HK dollars (about 10.2 U.S. dollars), 90 HK dollars (about 11.5 U.S. dollars) and 210 HK dollars (about 26.8 U.S. dollars) respectively.
Secretary for Transport and Housing of HKSAR government Chan Fan and Director of the General Office of CR Han Jiangping signed the memorandum in the government house of Hong Kong. HKSAR Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and the General Manager of CR Lu Dongfu witnessed the signing ceremony.
Lam said, "I am glad that the HKSAR government and CR signed the Memorandum today. It marks the reaching of consensus in principle on financial and operational matters by both parties, and lays a sound foundation for the commissioning of the Hong Kong Section of the XRL in the third quarter this year and its smooth operation subsequently."
Lu pointed out that the XRL is an important part of the national high-speed rail network. The connection of the XRL to the high-speed rail network of the Chinese mainland is underpinned by the central government's support for Hong Kong's prosperity and development.
He said he would be glad to see Hong Kong residents share the benefits generated by the high-speed rail development all over the country.
Chan said that he's confident that the future operation of the XRL will become financially healthy by the end of a 50-year operation period.
HKSAR government is still negotiating a future profit-sharing arrangement with CR, but the two sides have agreed to settle the fares in renminbi.