The Futian high speed railway station in Shenzhen opened on Wednesday. The station is one of seven stops on the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link.

Passengers can now go from Futian, which borders Hong Kong, to Guangzhou South in 42 to 50 minutes, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported citing railway authorities. The existing route from Lo Wu, which is called Luohu in Shenzhen, to Guangzhou East takes about 80 minutes.

A blueprint of the Futian Station. Photo: huoche.net.

Tickets from Futian to Guangzhou South sell for RMB82 (HK$98) and RMB108 (HK$129) for second class and first class cabins, respectively.

Futian Station, the size of 21 football pitches, is Asia’s largest and the world’s second-largest underground railway station after Grand Central Terminal in New York City, the newspaper said. Hong Kong’s Wen Wei Po said the station cost RMB3.95 billion (HK$4.72 billion).

The Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link. Photo: Wikicommons.

The mainland section of the cross-border high speed rail is largely finished while the Hong Kong part is plagued by delays, budget overrun and a controversy over border checkpoint arrangements.

The Hong Kong section, which runs to Kowloon West, was originally planned to open in 2015. It has been delayed twice: first to 2017, then to the third quarter of 2018. In June this year, the MTR said the high speed rail is expected to cost HK$85.3 billion, which is about 30 percent more than the original estimate.

China’s Hexie Hao (Harmony) bullet trains. Photo: mnw.cn.

There has also been a debate about whether to put a joint border checkpoint in Kowloon West. Hongkongers, who are increasingly unhappy about the erosion of the city’s core values including the rule of law under Beijing’s rule, are wary of mainland custom officials carrying out law enforcement duties on Hong Kong soil.

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Vivienne Zeng

Vivienne Zeng is a journalist from China with three years' experience covering Hong Kong and mainland affairs. She has an MA in journalism from the University of Hong Kong. Her work has been featured on outlets such as Al Jazeera+ and MSNBC.