A guide to Hong Kong’s new high-speed rail sta­tion

West Kowloon Sta­tion, which opened in Sep­tem­ber 2018, con­nects Hong Kong di­rectly with 44 sta­tions on main­land China’s vast high-speed rail net­work

Business Traveller (Asia-Pacific) - - CONTENTS -

AR­RIV­ING AT THE STA­TION

West Kowloon Sta­tion is next to two of Hong Kong’s MTR sub­way sta­tions. It’s a two-minute walk to Austin Sta­tion on the West Rail Line, and an eight- to 10-minute walk to Kowloon Sta­tion on the Tung Chung Line and Air­port Ex­press.

Air­port Ex­press Shut­tle Bus K1 also stops at West Kowloon Sta­tion. Pas­sen­gers need to show one of four items to board for free: a valid air­port ex­press ticket to/from Air­port Sta­tion; a board­ing pass with same-day va­lid­ity; an Air­port Ex­press Ticket voucher; or a high-speed rail ticket to/from West Kowloon Sta­tion with same-day va­lid­ity.

BUY­ING AND COL­LECT­ING TICK­ETS

Pas­sen­gers can ei­ther buy tick­ets on­line (tick­et­ing.high­speed.mtr.com.hk), by call­ing a book­ing hot­line (+852 2120 0888), or at the sta­tion at Level B1 tick­et­ing coun­ters (at least 45 min­utes be­fore de­par­ture).

Hold­ers of PRC res­i­dent iden­tity cards, home re­turn per­mits, Tai­wanese main­land travel per­mits and for­eign pass­ports recog­nised by the PRC gov­ern­ment can buy tick­ets via main­land tick­et­ing channels, in­clud­ing the 12306.cn web­site, as well as through a mo­bile app. Tick­ets bought on 12306.cn can be col­lected at spe­cial ticket ma­chines in the sta­tion, or through the des­ig­nated coun­ters in the sta­tion. In the lat­ter case, a han­dling fee is charged based on the ticket fare.

Ticket fares are set in ren­minbi, and the Hong Kong dol­lar fares, an­nounced on the first day of each month, are ad­justed monthly ac­cord­ing to the float­ing ex­change rate. Fares also dif­fer based on dif­fer­ent travel classes: sec­ond class, first class, premium class and busi­ness class. The lat­ter two are only avail­able on some main­land trains.

Most di­rect jour­neys cost more than trans­fer jour­neys. For ex­am­ple, sec­ond-class tick­ets from Hong Kong West Kowloon to Guangzhou South Rail­way Sta­tion cost RMB215 (US$31). How­ever, di­vid­ing the jour­ney into two sep­a­rate sec­tions costs RMB68 (US$9.9) from Hong Kong West Kowloon to Fu­tian, and RMB82 (US$12) from Fu­tian on to Guangzhou South, to­talling RMB150 (US$22) – a RMB65 (US$9.5) sav­ing.

PRE­PAR­ING FOR DE­PAR­TURE

There are strict reg­u­la­tions about the weight and length of bag­gage, and over­size or over­weight bag­gage may be re­jected. The max­i­mum weight that adults can carry on­board is 20kg, and the sum of the length, width and height of hand-car­ried bag­gage must not ex­ceed 130cm – about the size of a 24-inch (61cm) suit­case.

There is no porter ser­vice, so you’ll need to carry your bags your­self and place them in the des­ig­nated racks.

Make sure the name and num­ber printed on your ticket cor­re­spond to those on your per­sonal iden­tity doc­u­ment, as this will be checked at the Level B1 Tick­et­ing Con­course. Af­ter the ID check, you’ll need to go through the first set of au­to­mated tick­et­ing gates and un­dergo an air­port-style se­cu­rity check on the same floor.

Next, head to Level B3 where you’ll com­plete both the Hong Kong and main­land im­mi­gra­tion in­spec­tion pro­ce­dures and may need to go through cus­toms. Then you can wait at the De­par­ture Con­course.

Pas­sen­gers can ac­cess the plat­form 15 min­utes be­fore de­par­ture and gates close five min­utes prior to the train leav­ing. Pay care­ful at­ten­tion to the broad­cast and, when your train is an­nounced, go through the sec­ond set of gates and de­scend to the plat­form on Level B4 for board­ing. Re­mem­ber to keep your ticket dur­ing your jour­ney, as you’ll need it to exit the gate upon ar­rival – at least for now; MTR Cor­po­ra­tion wants to in­tro­duce a tick­et­less sys­tem within two to three years, ac­cord­ing to a South China Morn­ing Post re­port.

WIFI TIPS FOR THE “VI­BRANT EX­PRESS”

If you’re trav­el­ling on the GuangzhouShen­zhen-Hong Kong Ex­press Rail Link, you’ll have the chance to ex­pe­ri­ence the new “Vi­brant Ex­press”, which has 579 seats (and two wheel­chair spa­ces) split be­tween sec­ond class (511 seats in cars 2-7) and first class (68 seats in cars 1 and 8). Ameni­ties in­clude ro­tat­able chairs, wa­ter sup­ply, and power sock­ets in front of the seats.

The train also has free wifi, which first class pas­sen­gers can use for free with­out any time limit. Sec­ond class pas­sen­gers get one 15-minute ses­sion in the Hong Kong sec­tion and two 15-minute ses­sions in the main­land sec­tion for each de­vice. For the main­land sec­tion, pas­sen­gers may need a China phone num­ber or WeChat ac­count to ac­cess wifi. Jackie Chen

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