A new high-speed rail line will be added to link Guangzhou with Shenzhen, two megacities in Guangdong, the burgeoning hub in China’s southeast with the country’s largest provincial economy.

The new artery for bullet trains, which will roar along at up to 600 kilometers an hour, is now included in Guangzhou’s Masterplan 2018-2035 promulgated by the city’s government, according to the Southern Daily, Guangdong’s party mouthpiece.

The rail line, slated to be up and running by 2030, will run through the sprawling conurbation in the Pearl River Delta close to the two city’s airports. It is expected to slash travel time between Baiyun Airport in Guangzhou and Bao’an in Shenzhen from almost two hours to about 20 minutes.

Airports in Guangzhou, at top, and Shenzhen, above, will be linked by a new high-speed railway slated to be operational by 2030, the third such rail link between the two megacities. Photos: Asia Times

Commuters on the future line will be able to change to the existing Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High-speed Railway at a number of intermediate stations in Guangzhou, the provincial capital.

Another feeder line will also stretch across the border to Hong Kong, to a future artificial island for housing and business to be reclaimed off Lantau Island.

A railway expert with the Chinese Academy of Engineering told reporters that the new express link would feature special tracks laid on elevated platforms. But he stopped short of details about the new technologies and rolling stocks needed to achieve the 600km/h speed target. And the cost of the project was not revealed.

Currently, the Maglev train running between Shanghai and Pudong airport is the world’s fastest in commercial service, and China’s Fuxing trains are also the fastest conventional electric trains, with a top cruising speed of 400km/h.

There have also been talks about a possible Maglev line running from Guangzhou all the way to the West Kowloon Terminus in Hong Kong.

There have already been a cobweb of expressways and rail links between the two megacities of Guangzhou and Shenzhen, in one of China’s most affluent regions.  
A high-speed train cruises through Shenzhen. Photo: Weibo

At present, two high-speed rail links already serve Guangzhou and Shenzhen. The first was part of the historic Canton-Kowloon Railway built in 1911 that was electrified and modernized over recent decades for trains that travel up to 250 km/h.

The two cities and neighboring towns have a combined population of about 60 million. They are converging points for traffic within the affluent Pearl River Delta, which has a cobweb of expressways and rail links, with bullet trains departing from each end at an interval of five minutes during peak hours.

More subways and high-speed lines are being built and planned, as Beijing aims to turn the region – a factory and innovation hub – into a “Greater Bay Area” that also includes Hong Kong and Macau.

Last year, Shenzhen overtook Hong Kong in annual economic output, with its gross domestic product hitting 2.42 trillion yuan (US$349 billion), and Guangzhou is tipped to outperform Hong Kong this year.

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