Two major Intercity Railways are set to open at the end of this month, which will significantly improve travel times between the Greater Bay Area’s four major cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Dongguan and Foshan. Moreover, Shenzhen’s Metro Line 5 will also open, finally connecting the Qianhai special zone to the rest of the city.
According to local media, all 15 stations of the Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen Intercity Railway are now complete, and the line will open on September 30. During the initial trial period, the railway will be testing some “skip-stop” services, which should cut travel time from Shenzhen airport to Guangzhou to under 40 minutes.
The new line, which runs from Guangzhou’s Xintang station to the Shenzhen Airport station, is one of the main axes on the Pearl River Delta Network and it gives the Shenzhen airport a larger catchment area. It also has interchanges with many other lines still under construction: Dongguan-Huizhou, Foshan-Dongguan and Xintang-Guangzhou North. Moreover, it connects the subways of Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou: Humen North railway station is an interchange with Dongguan metro line 2, Duhaixi station with Shenzhen metro line 12 and Xintang station with Guangzhou metro line 13.
That is not all. A day later, on National Day, October 1, the Guangzhou-Foshan Intercity Circular Railway will open, bringing the western side of Foshan into the provincial network. It will have five stations, including three underground –Dongping New City, Chencun and Guangzhou South – and two elevated – Zhangcha and Beijiao.
This line will drastically cut travel times for passengers: it will only take 20 minutes from Foshan West to Guangzhou South, and 10 minutes from Dongping New City to Guangzhou South.
Shenzhen, meanwhile, will be having a celebration of its own at the end of the month. That is when the Line 5 Extension opens, bringing the Qianhai special zone into the city’s network.
The southward extension of the line will serve as an important link for commuters to and from the Qianhai-Shekou free trade area in the western part of the city.
All of this is good news for Hong Kongers, too. Here is how a journey northward into the Greater Bay Area would be improved:
From Kowloon West to Guangzhou East:
Take the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Railway to Humen Station, switch to the new Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen Intercity Railway to get to Xintang Station, and connect there with the Guangshen railway to Guangzhou East Station. That will put you in the middle of Tianhe in well under the two hours it takes on the old Kowloon-Canton Railway from Hunghom.