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Hong Kong opened the first high-speed railway that connects it to mainland China on Sunday.
Covering a stretch of 26 kilometers (16 miles), the new addition to Express Rail Link’s 25,000-kilometer (15,534-mile) network links passengers from West Kowloon to Shenzhen, China’s technology hub in Guangdong province.
On its maiden trip, the high-speed train G5736 departed from the West Kowloon station with some 500 passengers at 7 a.m. local time, Xinhua reported.
On the other side, bullet train G5711 left the Shenzhen station with some 600 passengers at 6:44 a.m. local time, ECNS noted.
Traveling up to 200 kilometers (124 miles) per hour, both trains arrived at their destinations in less than 20 minutes.
The new railway — which reportedly cost HK$84.4 billion (more than $10.8 billion) to build — connects Hong Kong to 44 destinations in the mainland, including Shanghai and Beijing.
The project stirred controversy as it marks the first time mainland criminal law is enforced on the Chinese territory, according to BBC.
Politics aside, the new railway is expected to boost businesses in Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, the second-nearest link at 40 minutes.
Passengers are pleased with their transport.
“It’s so fast!”
“[It’s] very quiet, like I was on a plane.”
“Now we can take a direct express train to Hong Kong and go through checks of both sides at one place. These new changes make this a unique trip.”
Images via Xinhua