MTR has announced that high-speed services from Hong Kong to destinations in Guangdong Province will resume on March 11, followed by routes to other destinations in China on April 1, restoring services to near pre-pandemic levels.
MTR resumed services to mainland China on January 15 following a gap of nearly three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic after operation was suspended on January 31 2020. MTR has initially been operating 39 northbound and 38 southbound shuttle services daily between Hong Kong and Guangzhou. The service has been enhanced with the addition of three new stops at Dongguannan, Dongguan and Guangzhoudong, with 12 trains currently operating between Hong Kong and Guangzhoudong.
From March 11, services will run to Zhaoqingdong, Shantou, Chaoshan, Chaoyang, Puning, Kuitan, Lufeng, Shanwei, Huizhounan, Huidong, Shenzhen Pingshan, Sanshuinan, Houmen and Foshanxi, with the number of daily services increasing from 77 to 102.
The first northbound service to Guangzhoudong will not stop at Futian and Dongguan, reducing the journey time from 1h 42min to 1h 29min, while the first southbound train from Guangzhounan will depart an hour earlier at 07.05 to accommodate business travellers.
Advance ticket sales began on March 7. Following the recent adjustment in long-distance ticket prices, new fares have been applied.
Cross-provincial long-distance services will resume on April 1, taking the service close to the level provided before the Covid-19 pandemic. Further details will be announced once the Hong Kong government has concluded discussions with its Chinese counterparts.
“We are delighted to see that the cross-boundary train service has been operating smoothly since the gradual full boundary reopening between Hong Kong and the mainland early this year,” says Ms Jeny Yeung, Hong Kong transport services director at MTR. “In view of the increasing demand for high-speed services as Hong Kong returns to normality, we have modified the short-distance train service and will fully resume long-distance services as soon as possible to better serve the needs of passengers.”
The Hong Kong government has lifted all requirements to wear a mask, but to meet Chinese requirements all passengers travelling on high-speed services must wear a mask on the train, complete a health declaration e-form before departure and allow sufficient time for clearance.