The 26-km Express Rail Link (XRL) runs from the terminus in West Kowloon to Shenzhen. There will be no intermediate station within the Hong Kong territory. The alignment runs beneath Yau Tsim Mong, Sham Shui Po, Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long Districts. The Express Rail Link will operate entirely in dedicated tunnels.

In determining the Express Rail Link alignment, MTR Corporation has taken a number of factors into account. These include consideration of technical, operational, safety and geotechnical aspects, land requirements, effects on the community, as well as connectivity with the Mainland section. The Hong Kong Section of the XRL runs in tunnels, the construction of which will require resumption or temporary occupation of underground strata along the alignment.

  • Urban Section

    In the urban section, the tunnels run parallel to Lin Cheung Road, then pass beneath Hoi Wang Road, Tai Kok Tsui district, Sham Mong Road, Lai Chi Kok Road Interchange and Kam Shan.

    Most of West Kowloon is well developed, and the major consideration in alignment selection for the urban section was to minimize the impact of construction and operation on the local communities, traffic, and existing infrastructure and buildings, as well as to minimize private land and strata resumption. In this connection, the tunnel alignment passes through the underground strata of two sections of existing roads (Sham Mong Road and Hoi Wang Road) to reduce disturbance to the local communities during construction. To link up these two sections of tunnel, the XRL has to pass beneath buildings in Tai Kok Tsui.

  • Rural Section

    In the rural section, the alignment continues northward into the New Territories, taking a direct route through the central New Territories, passing under Kam Shan, Tai Mo Shan, Kai Kung Leng and Mai Po before reaching the Shenzhen-Hong Kong boundary and connecting to the Mainland section.

    In the rural section, Shek Kong Stabling Sidings (SSS) and Emergency Rescue Siding (ERS) will be located at Shek Kong. The MTR Corporation has assessed alternative sites and concluded that Shek Kong is the most suitable co-location for both facilities.

    Shek Kong is located approximately midway along the alignment of the Hong Kong section of the Express Rail Link. Setting up an ERS at Shek Kong will enable effective response to incidents inside the tunnels. In addition, the proposed site is flat, low-lying and well-served by main roads, therefore allowing rescue teams to reach the ERS conveniently and evacuate train passengers efficiently if needed. Moreover, putting both facilities together enables share use of facilities such as access roads, emergency vehicular access, office and control centre, power supply and fire fighting facilities, thereby reducing the land resumption and minimizing the number of households affected.

  • Express Rail Link Alignment

The whole 26-km Hong Kong Section runs in dedicated tunnels in order to minimize the impact on the neighbouring communities. A dedicated, rather than a shared, corridor has been adopted to avoid hindering either existing or future domestic services (for example, Airport Express Line, Tung Chung Line and West Rail Line) or the XRL.

Most stations and termini of high-speed railways in the world are located in city centres – where population, employment, transport and economic activities are concentrated. Comprehensive transport choices connect travellers to and from onward destinations. Such an arrangement will attract more travellers to use the XRL, thus maximizing the economic benefits of the rail link.

For these reasons, the Mainland also usually locates high-speed rail stations in city centres. Where stations are located in suburban areas, such districts are normally planned as integrated transport hubs and new city centres. In these cases, different modes of transport connect to the original city centre and the nearby urban areas.

In Hong Kong, West Kowloon has been selected as the site for the Station of the XRL. The location is close to most of the commercial, retail, hotel and residential areas, and is well served by existing railway and road networks.

Hong Kong's population is about 7 million. During the first year upon the commencement of passenger service for XRL, around 30% of local population (2.1 million) and almost half of the workforce (1.7 million) will be within 5 kilometres of the West Kowloon Station (the Station). From the Station, most commercial districts (for example, Tsim Sha Tsui and Central) will be accessible in around 15 minutes by easy rail connections, and most residential districts in the territory (such as Taikoo Shing, Shatin, Tsuen Wan and Yuen Long) will be accessible in around 30 minutes.

The Station will also be well-connected with the MTR system (Tung Chung Line and Airport Express Line at Kowloon Station, and West Rail Line at Austin Station) and with buses, minibuses, taxis, etc., via a public transport interchange.

  • Coordination with the West Kowloon Cultural District

    Locating the Station near the West Kowloon Cultural District (WKCD) will enable both projects to fully realize their economic benefits. Well served by the Express Rail Link, more visitors from the Pearl River Delta will be attracted to the WKCD's arts and cultural activities, and the higher passenger volume brought by the WKCD will, in turn, enhance the cost-effectiveness of the Express Rail Link. These two projects, with coordination, will complement each other and bring even greater benefits to the Hong Kong economy.

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