At 10:00 sharp, the ceremony opened with an exciting string music performance. Carrie Lam, Ma Xingrui, Lu Dongfu and Frederick Ma delivered speeches. In his speech, on behalf of CHINA RAILWAY, Lu Dongfu extended congratulations to the opening of the high speed rail. He said that since the eighteenth Congress of the Communist Party of China, under the wise leadership of the CPC Central Committee with General Secretary Xi Jinping as its core, China has made remarkable achievements in railway construction and development. It has built the world's most modern railway network and the most developed high-speed rail network, and the Fuxing high-speed trains have taken a crucial step from catching up to becoming a leading. As an important part of the national high speed rail network, the Guangzhou – Shenzhen - Hong Kong high speed rail constitutes an important link connecting the mainland and Hong Kong. It is also an important cooperation project of large-scale infrastructure construction between the mainland and Hong Kong. The opening of the high-speed rail will exert a significant and far-reaching impact on sharing in the development achievements of the mainland's high-speed rail with the people of Hong Kong, meeting the new expectations of Hong Kong people for a better life, strengthening economic and people exchanges between Hong Kong and the mainland, enhancing the sense of happiness and fulfilling of the people of both Hong Kong and mainland, keeping the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, strengthening the underpinning effect of the modern transport infrastructure for the development of Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and building a world-class bay area and city cluster.
Lu Dongfu said that CHINA RAILWAY will keep in mind the great trust of General Secretary Xi Jinping expressed in his New Year greetings for 2018, “Fuxing trains surge on the vast land of the motherland”, give full play to the industrial, professional and networking edges of the company in high-speed rail operation, spare no efforts in cooperating with the railway sector of Hong Kong, make innovations in the operation management mode and mechanism, improve the train operation plan, enhance the service quality of passenger transport, adhere to rule of law and market-based operation, ensure the consistent, safe and stable operation of the Guangzhou – Shenzhen - Hong Kong high speed rail, so that the people of Hong Kong can visit the mainland anytime they want, and share the high speed rail traveling life with the mainland people, and the railway department will make due contributions to promoting the long-term prosperity and stability of Hong Kong, and composing a new chapter of the successful implementation of "one country, two systems".
In her speech, Carrie Lam said that China has enjoyed amazing development of high speed rail, which draws the world’s attention. It only takes a little more than a decade for China’s high speed rail to go from zero to leading the world and becoming a namecard of China, during which Chinese people’s lifestyle and traveling modes have witnessed unprecedented change and national economic and social development have been greatly promoted. The Hong Kong Section, after its linking with the mainland’s HSR network, will be connecting with Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong, the three major cities in the Guangdong- Hong Kong- Macau Bay Area. This will improve the rapid passenger network of the Bay Area, promote the economic, social and cultural exchanges in the area, and through Beijing-Guangzhou HSR and Hangzhou-Fuzhou-Shenzhen HSR, link Hong Kong with the Beijing Economic Circle and Yangtze River Delta Area, boost the coordination among regions, and create more opportunities for development.
Carrie Lam expressed thanks for CHINA RAILWAY’s support for Hong Kong in train operation schedule, ticketing and financial arrangements, and co-location arrangement. She said that she firmly believed the operators on both sides will continue to improve and innovate on railway safety, operation management, and passenger experience, and make the Hong Kong section a shining spot on the national name card and make the Hong Kong people proud. She said that the most important thing for the opening of the rail section is that it links people in both places, encourages Hong Kong people to visit mainland cities more, and meet people there.
Ma Xingrui said in his speech that the interoperability of infrastructure constitutes an important part of Guangdong – Hong Kong – Macau Bay Area, and an important support to facilitate the convenient and orderly flow of people, goods, capital and information flow among the three places. The Guangzhou - Shenzhen - Hong Kong high speed rail, as a traffic artery through the bay area, has implemented the innovative co-location customs clearance arrangement to maximize the convenience of personnel exchanges between the mainland and Hong Kong. The opening of the Hong Kong Section of the Guangzhou - Shenzhen - Hong Kong high speed rail marks the seamless link between Hong Kong and the national high speed rail network, greatly shrinking the mental map of Hong Kong and the mainland, and integrating Hong Kong with Guangzhou and Shenzhen’s one-hour life circle. It will provide more convenient, speedy and comfortable services for the residents of Guangdong and Hong Kong to engage in business activities, sightseeing, and visit relatives and friends. It will also provide stronger support for Guangdong and Hong Kong cooperation and lay a more solid foundation for the construction of the Guangdong – Hong Kong – Macau Bay Area.
After the speech, the officiating guests jointly pulled the lever symbolizing the opening of HSR and witnessed a display embodying the official operation of the West Kowloon Station, unveiled by HKSAR Chief Executive Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and Mr. MA Xingrui, the governor of Guangdong Province.
After the ceremony, Mr. Lu Dongfu, together with the guests, listened to the HSR-related introduction in front of the exhibition board displaying the national high-speed railway achievements, and had a cordial exchange with the representatives of MTR. He checked on how to use the ticket vending machine demonstrated by the MTR staff and asked about the customs clearance. Mr. Lu then boarded the first train bound for Guangzhounan Railway Station. The train, with an excellent performance of safety and stability, soon showed a running speed of 310km/h. At 12:06, the train safely arrived at Guangzhounan Station on time.
The HSR has a total length of 141 kilometers, including 115 kilometers in the mainland section and 26 kilometers in Hong Kong section. The Hong Kong section of HSR is scheduled to open to traffic on September 23, with a plan of 127 pairs of EMU trains in a peak day and connecting 44 stations in the mainland of China.
The officials participating in the opening ceremony include Zhang Yong, deputy director of the Basic Law Committee of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Yang Yudong, deputy director of the Ministry of Transport of P. R. China and director of the State Railway Bureau, Huang Liuquan, deputy director of the Hong Kong and Macao Affairs Office of the State Council, Wang Weizhong, member of the standing committee of Guangdong Provincial Party Committee and secretary of the Shenzhen Municipal Party Committee, Liu Zhenfang, deputy general manager of CHINA RAILWAY, Xie Feng, commissioner from the Office of the Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yang Jian, Qiu Hong, Tan Tieniu, He Jing, deputy directors of the Liaison Office of the Central People's Government in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, Ouyang Weimin, vice governor of Guangdong Province, Chen Rugui, mayor and deputy secretary of the Shenzhen Municipal Party Committee, Li Shuyu, member of the Party Committee of the General Administration of Customs, and director of the Guangdong Branch, Yin Chengji, deputy chief of the National Immigration Administration, and other officials of relevant departments of the Chinese central and national ministries and commissions, CHINA RAILWAY, Guangdong province and Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.
The picture shows that on September 22, the officiating guests jointly pulled the lever that symbolizes the opening of HSR. (Liu Zhiguang / photo)