New rail link to Shenzhen proposed

Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Wednesday proposed building a new cross-border rail to Shenzhen in her policy address and extending the Northern Link that’s under planning to cover more areas in the New Territories.

Lam said railways will be backbone of the transport system in the proposed Northern Metropolis, which is currently served by the Tuen Ma and East Rail lines.

In her policy address, she proposed building a new cross-border Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Railway that will link Hung Shui Kiu to the special economic zone of Qianhai.

At a press conference, Lam dismissed suggestions that the line isn’t necessary, since there’s already an express rail link to Shenzhen.

She said the new rail line would be convenient for people living in Hung Shui Kiu and working in Qianhai, cutting their travelling time by around half an hour.

“To suggest that we don’t need this connection between Hung Shui Kiu and Qianhai, I’m afraid you are going against public opinion,” she said.

The chief executive also said in her policy address that Hung Shui Kiu will be upgraded and become a modern service centre, while “landmark” IT facilities will be built in nearby Lau Fau Shan, which is famous for its seafood.

She also wants a study to be carried out on building an automated people mover near Lau Fau Shan, to connect Tsim Bei Tsui to Pak Nai, an area rich in marine biodiversity.

The policy blueprint also suggested extending the Northern Link to connect to the new Huanggang port in Shenzhen.

It’s also proposed extending the link eastwards from the proposed Kwu Tung station to cover the areas of Lo Wu, Ta Kwu Ling and Queen’s Hill in Fanling.

The Northern Link currently has a price tag of HK$62 billion and is expected to be completed by 2034.

As for the East Rail, the CE said officials will study if it’s possible to move the line’s northern terminus at Lo Wu to Shenzhen and create a joint immigration and customs facilities there, so that more land could be released for development.

Lam said when quarantine-free travel with the mainland resumes, eligible cars from Hong Kong will be able to travel to Guangdong province via the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge without the need to obtain a quota in advance, and the scheme may be extended to other land checkpoints in the future.