SZ-HK High-Speed Train... Nope. We're Not There Yet
So you want to know about the shiny new SZ to HK speed train that is going to put you on-the fast track to fun in HK... there’s good news and bad news.
The good news — it only takes 15 minutes from SZ to HK — now the the bad news - have you ever heard a story called the tortoise and the hare — if not I will tell you how it ends - the much faster hare looses to the to the tortoise because he messed around endlessly while the tortise moved steadily toward his goal - the new SZ to HK speed train is the hare and the current alternatives — the 3 main check points plus bus or east rail line are the tortoise.
Opening Ceremony of the Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. Photo by Jerome Favre/EPA
Why is this — the short answer is...
the SZ to HK speed train is run like every other train in China — not a high speed alternative for those wanting to commute from SZ to HK and back. You must wait in line to buy a ticket unless you have a Chinese ID, and can read Chinese — then you can use the handy self service ticketing machines. I don’t have a Chinese ID so I waited 20 minutes. The earliest ticket was for a departure time almost and hour from the current time — it appears the trains leave every 45 minutes.
...not a high speed alternative for those wanting to commute from SZ to HK and back.
There is a lot of walking both from the subway to the HSR ticket purchasing area, then to the train, and finally when you get to the train you need to walk up and down a long train to find your compartment — so your 45 minutes waiting for the train can’t even be spent working — you must walk.
Bottom line once you add the long walk from the subway to the HS rail, time waiting in line to buy a ticket, the 45 minutes most will wait for the next train — the fact that the train ride itself is 15 minutes is negated as it will still take you around an hour and a half to get into HK — and it will cost you double what the alternatives cost.
...your 45 minutes waiting for the train can’t even be spent working — you must walk.
Could this be improved upon? Sure — make it simple for people without Chinese IDs to pickup tickets bought online — have trains run every 15 minutes ... then the only issue left would be the crazy long walk from the Subway — which could be dealt with by having a electric shuttle cart take people to the HST from the subway when they show the ticket they bought in advance —
If those 3 things were done it would be possible to get from the futian subway to the Center of HK in 30 minutes — that would be awesome ... but we’re not there yet.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kevin is an American who has been in Shenzhen for over five years. He travels between Shenzhen and Hong Kong often and has tried every form of transportation between the two cities available.