The 26km high-speed rail service between Hong Kong and mainland China has resumed following a hiatus of almost three years induced by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nearly 80 trains will operate daily along the route, reducing journey time from Hong Kong to Guangzhou from two hours to 47 minutes, according to CNN.

The latest move comes after the resumption of quarantine-free travel between Hong Kong and the Chinese mainland on 8 January of this year. 

The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link was in operations for around 16 months.

It shuttered in January 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 crisis.

In a Facebook post seen by the South China Morning Post, Hong Kong CEO John Lee Ka-chiu said: “I am grateful to the central government for its support to Hong Kong, and the Guangdong and Shenzhen municipal governments for their ongoing coordination.

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“My team and I will continue to work hard and closely with relevant mainland authorities to achieve a full resumption of traveller clearance.”

Tickets each way have been capped at 5,000 daily.

Hong Kong travellers can buy train tickets to stations in Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou, in the Guangdong province, reported China Daily.

China Railway Guangzhou Group will provide an average of 38.5 pairs of high-speed trains on a daily basis from Guangzhou as well as Shenzhen stations to West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, the publication stated.

In an initial step, West Kowloon Station will offer trains to Shenzhen’s Futian, Shenzhen North along with Guangzhou South and Guangzhou East stations.

Cross-border rail travellers have to present a negative COVID-19 nucleic acid test done within 48 hours of travelling.

Commuters are required to wear a mask during the train journey, noted transport operator MTR.