This is High Speed Rail

The Guangzhou to Hong Kong high speed rail has been opened a couple of weeks now. I’ve used it a few times and on my last return journey I decided I’d photograph some key bits of info.

What is High Speed Rail?

For some time the Chinese and Kong Kong governments had been talking about various ways to link Guangzhou with Hong Kong. It was finally decided around 2004 to build this high speed rail link. It just happens to pass by Shenzhen North rail station (just one metro stop from where we live) so the trip for us is roughly 15 minutes to Kowloon, Hong Kong.

Before this we’d metro to the Hong Kong border, 25 minutes. Cross the bridge, 30 minutes. Metro from Lok Ma Chau to Kowloon, 1 hour.

So with a 15 minute ride, maybe 30 minutes to get tickets and 10 minutes of customs it’s roughly 1 hour in total. The best bit is no standing around on metros!

Getting tickets (Shenzhen North)

First figure out when you want to go and write everything down. It’ll make life easier, trust me. I use this website to get the train times and numbers. It’s in English- so much easier!

Heading into Shenzhen North rail station you’ll see two ticket offices. Head towards Ticket office A1. Ticket office A2 don’t sell high speed tickets.

Correct ticket area (not A2)

You’ll see multiple rows of people queuing. Look for the queues that display “Hong Kong West Kowloon”. Problem is it’ll be in Chinese! So look for this, 香港西九龙

Look for 香港西九龙

Next, buy your tickets. A one way ticket to HK costs roughly £8. Since I’m a foreigner, I need to show my passport. Chinese nationals just need their ID cards. From experience, I’d advise you write down your trip information and give it to the person in the booth. It’ll make life easier. You need the following information. It’s probably best to stick all this in a spreadsheet using Chinese characters for the key information.

  1. Start and End stations.
  2. Date of travel
  3. Time of travel and train number
  4. Number of passengers
  5. Class of travel, 1st or 2nd
Typical Ticket

The tickets look like this. I’ve blanked out some areas because it contains name and travel document information. You can see the starting location and destination. Between that is the train number, G5739. This is like a flight number and you’ll be looking out for it in departures. In the top right is the departure gate. Below HKWestKowloon is my seat number. This one is coach 02 and seat 18B.

Getting the Train

Departure gates

Find the gate roughly 20 minutes before departure time. They usually open up 15 minutes before so expect a quick stampede! See above the info from my ticket, train number, time and gate number.

See how happy I am

You’ll find the train on the platform, quite unmissable and look. Here’s a selfie of me getting excited about using the new train.


Next go and find your coach and seat. Like I said above, this is printed under the destination on your ticket.

Inside a fast train

Now settle down for the 15 minute trip to West Kowloon. When you get to the other side follow the directions to customs. Depart China, cross the yellow line and enter Hong Kong.

West Kowloon Station

The way back is a lot easier for a none Chinese speaker as Hong Kong has English speaking counter staff and better signage.

Finally, here’s some train pictures for those who love the locomotives 😉


2 thoughts on “This is High Speed Rail

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