Hong Kong authorities are on track to complete the first study for the Hong Kong–Shenzhen Western Express Railway next year.

As informed by Secretary for Transport and Housing of Hong Kong Frank Chan Fan in a radio show, a dedicated office will be established in Shenzhen to oversee the construction of the new line.

The proposed railway will link the western part of New Territories, near Hung Shui Kiu and Ha Tsuen, to Qianhai in Shenzhen.

It is planned to be executed along with four other railway projects and will pass through more rural areas in the New Territories.

This cross-border railway will function as an extension of MTR Corporation’s planned $8bn (HK$62bn) Northern Link that will run between western and northern New Territories.

After the completion of the first study, the two cities will further hold discussions in connection with the route of the line, location of the stations, cost of construction and the cooperation mechanism between the two governments.

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Regarding the increase in pressure on the East Rail and West Rail lines due to the development in northern New Territories, Chan said that the authorities have assessed their capacities after the launch of Tuen Ma Line.

During peak hours, nearly 30% of the passenger flow head towards north while others move towards the south.

In the radio show, Chan said: “Travel patterns could be affected by Covid-19, so it is necessary to assess the situation again after the pandemic eases.”

Furthermore, the authorities are considering various viable options, such as the Light Rail Transit system or self-driving trains, for the expansion of Northern Link to the east.

Meanwhile, in June this year, MTR Corporation and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government and Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation signed four principal agreements for the operation of the Tuen Ma Line.