Passengers walk on the platform after arriving at Shenzhen North Railway Station by train G5820 from Hong Kong. It was the first train from Hong Kong to Shenzhen as the high-speed railway connecting the mainland and Hong Kong resumed operation yesterday after nearly three years of suspension due to the pandemic. Photos by Sun Yuchen
Bullet train G5820 from Hong Kong arrived at Shenzhen North Railway Station at around 7:22 a.m. yesterday after an 18-minute trip, becoming the first train to Shenzhen as the high-speed railway connecting the mainland and Hong Kong resumed operation after nearly three years of suspension due to the pandemic.
“I came to Shenzhen to spend the Spring Festival,” said a Hong Kong resident surnamed Lin after getting off the train.
He has prepared gifts for his three children and didn’t inform them of his trip to give them a happy surprise.
Liao Jun, a student from Jiangxi Province who studies in Hong Kong, was excited to catch the first train back to the mainland.
“Today will be a day to remember. The resumption of high-speed rail services is of great significance to the overall connectivity between Hong Kong and the mainland,” he said.
Two minutes later, train G5607 departed from Shenzhen North Railway Station at 7:24 a.m. for Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, the first train to Hong Kong since the pandemic disrupted the cross-border bullet train services.
A man surnamed Zhu from Ningbo, Zhejiang Province, who works in Hong Kong, was one of the passengers boarding the first train.
“I came back to my hometown in Zhejiang to see my parents Jan. 9 after the border crossings between the mainland and Hong Kong reopened. I chose to take the train back to Hong Kong today as it is fast and convenient,” Zhu said.
Passengers take a group photo on the platform after arriving at Shenzhen North Railway Station by train G5820 from Hong Kong.
Bu, a businessman in the textile trade who often had to travel between the two cities, was also on the train.
“The railway service is the fastest way for me to visit my customers in Tsim Sha Tsui. I wanted to meet my customers in this trip before the Spring Festival,” said Bu.
On the Hong Kong side, the city’s rail operator MTR prepared a gift pack for the first incoming visitors, along with a balloon arch at the arriving concourse. The gift pack included cash coupons at malls, a luggage tag, and a box of face masks.
China Railway Guangzhou Group said that it will arrange an average of 38.5 pairs of high-speed trains on a daily basis running between stations in Guangzhou and Shenzhen and the Hong Kong West Kowloon Station at the initial stage of service resumption.
It would optimize the operation plan in the future according to passenger flow and promote the orderly recovery of cross-border high-speed rail services, the group said.
The trips between Hong Kong and Guangzhou East Railway Station, Guangzhou South Railway Station, Shenzhen North Railway Station and Futian Station will be 101 minutes, 43 minutes, 18 minutes and 14 minutes respectively, the operation schedule shows.
The West Kowloon Control Point will operate between 6:30 a.m. and 11:30 p.m. There aren’t booking requirement and passengers who have purchased tickets can travel between Hong Kong and the mainland through the checkpoint with a valid ticket.