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Hong Kong West Kowloon station

Coordinates: 22°18′13″N 114°09′54″E / 22.30361°N 114.16500°E / 22.30361; 114.16500
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Hong Kong West Kowloon

香港西九龍
High-speed rail station
West Kowloon station (2018)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese香港西九龍站
Simplified Chinese香港西九龙站
Cantonese YaleHēunggóng Sāi Gáulùhng Jaahm
Jyutpinghoeng1 gong2 sai1 gau2 lung4 zaam6
Transcriptions
Standard Mandarin
Hanyu PinyinXiānggǎng Xī Jiǔlóng Zhàn
Wade–GilesHsiang1-kang2 Hsi1 Chiu3-lung2 Chan4
Yue: Cantonese
Yale RomanizationHēunggóng Sāi Gáulùhng Jaahm
Jyutpinghoeng1 gong2 sai1 gau2 lung4 zaam6
General information
Other namesWest Kowloon
Location3 Austin Road West
Tsim Sha Tsui
Hong Kong
Owned byKCR Corporation
Operated byMTR Corporation
Line(s)  Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong XRL
Platforms
Tracks
  • 15 (10 in use)
  • Long-haul: 6
  • Short-haul: 4[1]
Train operators
Connections
Construction
Structure typeUnderground
Platform levels1
AccessibleYes
ArchitectAedas
Other information
StatusIn operation
Station code
  • MTR code: WEK
  • Immigration Department: XRL
  • TMIS code: 65896
  • Telegraph code: XJA
  • Pinyin code: XGL
History
Opened23 September 2018; 5 years ago (2018-09-23) (initial opening)
15 January 2023; 17 months ago (2023-01-15) (reopening)
Closed30 January 2020 – 14 January 2023 (2020-01-30 – 2023-01-14) (temporary, due to COVID-19 pandemic)[3]
Electrified25 kV 50 Hz AC (Overhead lines)
Passengers
20185.3 million (annual, service began on 23 September)[4]
201916.9 million (annual)[5]Increase 219.2%
20201 million (annual, service suspended from 30 January)[6][3]Decrease 93.9%
20210 (annual, no service)[7]Decrease 100%
Services
Preceding station China Railway High-speed China Railway High-speed Following station
Futian
towards Beijing West
Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong high-speed railway Terminus
Transfer at Kowloon
Preceding station MTR MTR Following station
Hong Kong
Terminus
Tung Chung line
transfer at Kowloon
Olympic
towards Tung Chung
Airport Express
transfer at Kowloon
Tsing Yi
Transfer at Austin
Nam Cheong
towards Tuen Mun
Tuen Ma line
transfer at Austin
East Tsim Sha Tsui
towards Wu Kai Sha

West Kowloon station[8] (abbreviated WEK), also known as Hong Kong West Kowloon,[9] is the southern terminus of and the only station on the Hong Kong section of the Guangshengang XRL. The station connects to China's high-speed rail (HSR) network across the border through dedicated tunnels and includes a Mainland Port Area where the laws of (Mainland) China are enforced. It was constructed by the MTR Corporation Limited as the project manager[10] commissioned by the Hong Kong Government, through subcontractors.

The station terminal is located in Jordan, Kowloon Peninsula, north of the West Kowloon Cultural District between the Airport Express and Tung Chung line's Kowloon station and the Tuen Ma line's Austin station. The footprint of the new station extends into the underground level of the West Kowloon Cultural District.[11]

The station closed between 30 January 2020 and 15 January 2023 due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions. Limited services resumed in 15 January 2023, with full services resumed in 1 April 2023.[12][13]

Services[edit]

Train services[edit]

West Kowloon station is served by both short-distance and long-haul train services. Short-distance services consist of frequent services to mainland Chinese cities in neighbouring Guangdong province, including Shenzhen, Dongguan, and Guangzhou, while long-distance services link Hong Kong to major destinations in mainland China.[14] Short-haul trains are operated by both the MTRC (the Vibrant Express) and China Railway, whereas long-haul trains are only operated by China Railway.

Both the MTRC and China Railway sell tickets for the other's trains. Ticket prices are set in Renminbi (RMB) which are used by China Railway's ticketing services. The MTRC use only Hong Kong Dollars (HKD) in which fares are set monthly based on China Railway's RMB prices and current conversion rates with the RMB. Seat selection and remaining seat information are not available on MTRC's online ticketing platform.[15]

For all trains terminating at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, according to the regulations outlined in the "Cross-Boundary Passenger Transport Organization Rules for Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-Speed Rail," onboard make-up ticket sales to Hong Kong West Kowloon Station are not available. In the event that passengers travel beyond the mainland China-Hong Kong border towards West Kowloon Station without the appropriate ticket, staff at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station will treat them as traveling without a valid ticket. As a result, passengers will be subject to a substantial additional fee based on the "Hong Kong Railway By-Laws."[16]

Although the Express Rail Link has a design capacity of 20 trains per hour in each direction, the capacity is not expected to be fully utilised for some years.[17][18]

Short-haul services

Preceding station China Railway High-speed China Railway High-speed Following station
Futian
Terminus
Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong XRL
Short-haul service
Terminus
Shenzhen North
Terminus
Futian
Futian

Long-haul services

Preceding station China Railway High-speed China Railway High-speed Following station
Shenzhen North
towards Beijing West
Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong XRL
Long-haul service
Terminus
Shenzhen North
Futian
towards Chaoshan
Shenzhen North
towards Chengdu East
Shenzhen North
Shenzhen North
towards Fuzhou
Shenzhen North
Shenzhen North
towards Nanning East
Shenzhen North
Shenzhen North
towards Shantou
Shenzhen North
towards Tianjin West
Futian
towards Xiamen
Shenzhen North
Shenzhen North

Ground transport[edit]

Related developments by the Hong Kong Government in West Kowloon, expect to improve the efficiency of road and pedestrian access routes, as well as to resolve a problematic traffic intersection in West Kowloon. These road developments hope to meet the transport needs of the entire area of the new development area of West Kowloon Cultural District and West Kowloon station after completion.

Transportation Study[which?] identified the following specific road improvement measures:

  • Build a connection from Austin Road West (near Canton Road) to Lin Cheung Road (Jordan Road north) via an underground carriageway, so that pedestrians will have unimpeded access and egress between West Kowloon Cultural District, West Kowloon station and Kowloon station
  • Conduct Austin Road and Canton Road junction improvement works, including considering the widening of the Canton Road carriageway and expansion of the existing underground pedestrian tunnel system
  • Other road improvement projects in West Kowloon will be directly connected to a newly developed area near the West Kowloon Highway, in order to reduce the load on the region's transport network

Structure[edit]

Hong Kong West Kowloon Station front entrance (2018)
Interior of the station
Restaurant area on the station level B2

Construction of the West Kowloon station project was divided into two parts, XRL810A (northern part) and XRL810B (southern part)[20] (XRL meaning eXpress Rail Link). The northern construction area was awarded to Leighton Contractors & Gammon Construction responsible for joint operations.[21] The southern part of the project was awarded to a consortium of Laing O'Rourke, HCCG (Hsin Chong) & Paul Y jointly responsible for the construction.[22][23][24]

As a cross-border station, the West Kowloon station has customs and immigration facilities for passengers to go through prior to boarding, removing the need for trains to stop at the Hong Kong-Mainland China border, reducing travel time.[25][26][27]

Platforms[edit]

Train G6582 at Platform 7 on the first-day operation of Hong Kong West Kowloon station

The station serves both 16-car long-haul trains and shorter 8-car short-haul regional trains. In its current initial stages, the station uses only 10 tracks (6 long-haul and 4 short-haul) with 14 platforms (6 long-haul and 4 short-haul) consisting of 5 island platforms and 4 side platforms. However, the station was designed with 15 tracks (9 long-haul and 6 short-haul) with 21 platforms (9 long-haul and 12 short-haul) using 9 island platforms and 3 side platforms for full operations.[1][28][29]

The long-haul trains use longer platforms located on the eastern end of the station. This part of the station has 9 tracks with 4 island platforms and 1 side platform. However, as of 2022, it has only ever used 6 tracks with 2 side platforms and 2 island platforms (Platforms 4–9). Passengers here board and alight from the same platform. Each platform here has 4 lifts and 4 escalators (2 for arrivals and 2 for departures). This means an island platform has a total of 8 escalators and 8 lifts. The arrivals escalators and lifts connect to the Arrival concourse on B2 and the departures connecting from the Departure concourse on B3.[30][31][1]

Short-haul trains (including MTRC's Vibrant Express) use shorter platforms which employ the Spanish solution arrangement, where platforms for boarding and alighting are separately located on opposing sides of the track. This reduces dwell times of trains in the station by reducing boarding and alighting times of passengers to allow for a higher frequency of service. Currently, there are only 4 tracks in use for the short-haul trains, with 3 island platforms (2 of which are used for alighting) and 2 side platforms with a total of 8 platforms (Platforms 11–18). The boarding platforms (both island and side) each use 3 lifts and 2 lifts. The alighting platforms each use 2 lifts and 3 escalators. In the future, there will be a total of 6 tracks (5 island platforms and 2 side platforms) serving short-haul trains.[1][29]


Track 1 16-car train (Not in service)
Platform Platform 1 / Platform 2 Island platform (Not in service)
Track 2 16-car train (Not in service)
Track 3 16-car train (Not in service)
Platform Platform 3 / Platform 4 Island platform (Platform 3 not in service)
Track 4 16-car train
Track 5 16-car train
Platform Platform 5 / Platform 6 Island platform
Track 6 16-car train
Track 7 16-car train
Platform Platform 7 / Platform 8 Island platform
Track 8 16-car train
Track 9 16-car train
Platform Platform 9 Side platform
Platform Platform 11 Side platform (Boarding only)
Track 10 8-car train
Platform Platform 12 / Platform 13 Island platform (Alighting only)
Track 11 8-car train
Platform Platform 14 / Platform 15 Island platform (Boarding only)
Track 12 8-car train
Platform Platform 16 / Platform 17 Island platform (Alighting only)
Track 13 8-car train
Platform Platform 18 / Platform 19 Island platform (Boarding only, Platform 19 not in service)
Track 14 8-car train (Not in service)
Platform Platform 18 / Platform 21 Island platform (Not in service)
Track 15 8-car train (Not in service)
Platform Platform 22 Side platform (Not in service)

Exits[edit]

A: MTR Austin station Wheelchair user access

B: Wui Man Road Pick-up/Drop-off Wheelchair user access

C: Lin Cheung Road (closed) Wheelchair user access

D: Green Plaza Wheelchair user access

F: Green Plaza Wheelchair user access

G: Xiqu Centre Wheelchair user access

H: Green Plaza Wheelchair user access

J: Coach Pick-up/Drop-off Wheelchair user access

K1: MTR Austin station Wheelchair user access

K2: West Kowloon Station Bus Terminus Wheelchair user access

K4: Sky Corridor Wheelchair user access

M: Elements Wheelchair user access

N: MTR Austin station Wheelchair user access

Landscaping[edit]

West Kowloon station features an extensive green garden across the roof area of the station. It also sets up a large collection of cultural elements and entertainment spaces. Passengers can easily cross the ground floor between Kowloon station, Austin station and West Kowloon Cultural District, providing Hong Kong residents and visitors ample public open space and a comfortable green walking environment. Above the station, an area of approximately 8,900 square metres (96,000 sq ft) has been planted with a large number of plants and trees with traffic separated. All to create a pedestrian area, a green platform, and a wooded park that will integrate with the West Kowloon Cultural District harbourside parklands.

In addition, the West Kowloon station entrance lobby area features a green ecological leisure channel zone to tie in with the greenery on top of the building.

History and development[edit]

Construction site in 2011

The original scheduled opening date of 2012[citation needed] was delayed until 2015[citation needed] following the shake-up of high-speed rail construction across China after the 2011 Wenzhou train collision.[citation needed] While construction of the station was still planned for completion in 2015, major flooding occurred in the railway tunnels under construction on 30 March 2014. This resulted in great damage to the tunnel boring machines.[quantify] Internal MTR reports suggested causes were incomplete tender drawings, site surveys, and planning before construction began.[32] The station was formally opened on 4 September 2018 and high-speed trains started to run to destinations in Mainland China from 23 September 2018.[33]

RTHK reported that the final cost of the construction was 30% more than the initial estimate.[34]

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, then chief executive of the territory Carrie Lam announced that West Kowloon station will be closed from midnight of 30 January 2020 until further notice.[35] The station has since then remained closed to the public, although it was used on 30 June and 1 July 2022 to facilitate Chinese leader Xi Jinping and first lady Peng Liyuan's visit to Hong Kong for ceremonies related to 25th anniversary of the Hong Kong handover and inauguration of John Lee as the new Chief Executive.

The station reopened on 15 January 2023.[36]

Mainland Port Area[edit]

The Government announced the implementation of co-location arrangement on 25 July 2017
Entrance of the Mainland Port Area
Police station in the Mainland Port Area

The Mainland Port Area is an area inside West Kowloon station that serves as a border control point between mainland China and Hong Kong.[37][38][39] The area has been effectively ceded to Mainland China for a token HK$1,000 a year in rent.[40][41] Since September 2018, Mainland Chinese immigration and police personnel operate exclusively within the area, and the laws of mainland China, rather than Hong Kong, are enforced.[42][43]

This arrangement was controversial both before and after its implementation. Pro-democracy advocates were concerned about the erosion of Hong Kong's freedoms and autonomy under the "One Country, Two Systems" framework, and the Hong Kong Bar Association stated that the arrangement caused "the integrity of the Basic Law" to be "irreparably breached" and would "severely undermine" confidence in the rule of law in Hong Kong.[44][45][46] Notably, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which applies in Hong Kong, does not apply in the Mainland Port Area, leading to human rights concerns.[47][48]

Area definition[edit]

The area delineated and coloured orange on Plan No. 1 and Annex 1 to Plan No. 1 in Schedule 2 of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (Co-location) Ordinance is declared as the Mainland Port Area. It comprises the designated areas on B2 and B3 levels, the platform areas on B4 level as well as the connecting passageways.[49][50] A train compartment of a passenger train in operation on the Hong Kong Section of the Express Rail Link is to be regarded as part of the Mainland Port Area. This arrangement will facilitate mainland border control preclearance in Hong Kong. Reports in the British press suggested this area amounts to a cession of 1,000,000 square feet (93,000 m2) of the station for a token annual rent of HK$ 1,000 (reported as being equivalent to £99).[51]

Except for reserved matters, the Mainland Port Area is to be regarded as an area lying outside Hong Kong but lying within Mainland China for the purposes of the application of the laws of Mainland China, and of the laws of Hong Kong, in the Mainland Port Area; and the delineation of jurisdiction over the Mainland Port Area. It does not affect the boundary of the administrative division of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.[52]

Although the West Kowloon HSR station is listed on a page titled [53] by the Shenzhen municipal government online, it is unclear whether this qualifies as a Port of Exit for the Shenzhen SEZ Visa on Arrival.

Implementation process[edit]

The joint meeting on 8 August 2017 of the Panel on Transport, the Panel on Security and the Panel on Administration of Justice and Legal Services of the Legislative Council passed the motion supporting the implementation of the "co-location arrangement" at the West Kowloon station.[54]

The meeting on 15 November 2017 of the Legislative Council passed the motion on taking forward the follow-up tasks of the co-location arrangement at the West Kowloon station.[55]

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region signed the Co-operation Arrangement between the Mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region on the Establishment of the Port at the West Kowloon Station of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link for Implementing Co-location Arrangement with the People's Government of Guangdong Province on 18 November 2017.[50]

On 27 December 2017, the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress approved the Co-operation Arrangement and stated that it is consistent with the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.[56]

The Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link (Co-location) Bill was passed by the Legislative Council at the meeting on 14 June 2018. The Ordinance gazetted on 22 June 2018 and come into operation on a day to be appointed by the Secretary for Transport and Housing by notice published in the Hong Kong Government Gazette.[57]

After a ceremony to "mark the commissioning of the Mainland Port Area" was held jointly by Frank Chan, Secretary for Transport and Housing, and "a leading Communist party official from Guangdong province",[51] democracy activists noted that it constituted an erosion of the SAR's autonomy, with Tanya Chan reported as telling local radio that "the unlawful and unconstitutional joint checkpoint has been implemented forcefully — it has caused an irreparable damage to our legal system and rule of law."[51] Chief Executive Carrie Lam, however, denied that there was any attempt to cover up the event, despite the ceremony being closed to press and being held without advance notice to news media or to members of the Legislative Council.[51]

In the Court of First Instance of the High Court, Judge Anderson Chow refused the applications for leave to apply for judicial review by his decision dated 27 September 2017[58] and 18 April 2018.[59] He refused the applications for interim relief by his decision dated 14 August 2018.[60] He granted the applications for leave to apply for judicial review but dismissed the substantive applications for judicial review by his judgment dated 13 December 2018.[61]

Mainland police operations[edit]

Since the Mainland Port Area began operations, there have been several reported cases of travellers being detained or arrested by mainland officials in Hong Kong.[62][63][64] In one case, Simon Cheng, a Hong Kong resident working for the British consulate was detained upon returning to Hong Kong and sent back to mainland China by mainland police officers.[65][66] Amid the 2019–20 Hong Kong protests, Chinese border officers have also begun to routinely search the phones of travellers for evidence of involvement in the protests.[67]

Awards[edit]

In 2010, the West Kowloon station design won "Cityscape Awards for Architecture" in the Emerging Markets of Tourism, Travel & Transport Future Awards.[68] In the same year on 4 November, the West Kowloon station design won the "Best Future Project ─ Infrastructure" World Architecture Festival Awards.[69]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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  2. ^ File:HK 香港西九龍站 MTR West Kowloon Station January 2019 SSG 84.jpg
  3. ^ a b "Hong Kong to suspend high-speed rail service in bid to halt spread of coronavirus". CNBC. 28 January 2020. Retrieved 8 August 2022. Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam said on Tuesday the high-speed rail service between the city and mainland China would be suspended from Jan. 30.
  4. ^ "Annual Report 2018: Connecting Communities" (PDF). MTR Corporation. 7 March 2019. p. 7. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  5. ^ "Annual Report 2019: Keep Moving" (PDF). MTR Corporation. 5 March 2020. p. 17. Retrieved 8 August 2022.
  6. ^ "Annual Report 2020: Keep Cities Moving" (PDF). MTR Corporation. 11 March 2020. p. 9. Retrieved 8 August 2020.
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  8. ^ Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link Co-Location Arrangement (PDF) (Poster), Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government – via www.thb.gov.hk
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  55. ^ Voting Results
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  66. ^ Sudworth, John (20 November 2019). "Former UK consulate worker says China tortured him". Retrieved 20 November 2019.
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  68. ^ Real Estate Investment, Development and Construction Exhibition - 2010 Winners Archived 25 March 2012 at the Wayback Machine Cityscape,2010年
  69. ^ West Kowloon Terminus Archived 5 November 2013 at the Wayback Machine World Buildings Directory

Further reading[edit]

22°18′13″N 114°09′54″E / 22.30361°N 114.16500°E / 22.30361; 114.16500