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 December 20, 2003
Hong Kong's West Rail Officially Opens

 The 30.5 kilometre West Rail, the largest infrastructure project since the Hong Kong International Airport at Chek Lap Kok, officially opened on December 20 to provide a fast, comfortable, reliable and environmentally friendly transport link from Kowloon downtown to Northwest New Territories -- or vice versa -- in 30 minutes.

Speaking at the West Rail opening ceremony, the Hong Kong Chief Executive, Mr Tung Chee Hwa, said the new line would further the development of the Northwest New Territories. He added that the HKSAR Government would continue investing in transport infrastructure within Hong Kong as well as connections to the Mainland.

Such projects, which include the construction of several railways and an express railway between Guangzhou and Hong Kong, will further enhance the flow of people and goods in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta, enabling sustained economic growth.

Within the next few years, the HKSAR Government will study, plan and construct the Tsim Sha Tsui Extension, the Ma On Shan Rail Link, the Kowloon Southern Link and the Shatin-Central Link. Major highways such as the Deep Bay Link and Route 9 between Tsing Yi and Sha Tin will also materialize.

Cross-boundary links, such as the Sheung Shui to Lok Ma Chau Spur Line, the Shenzhen Western Corridor, the HK-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge, two new boundary bridges at Lok Ma Chau-Huanggang and Sha Tau Kok, and the express-rail link between Hong Kong and Guangzhou will bring the territory and the Pearl River Delta closer.

The West Rail has nine stations, running through Nam Cheong in Sham Shui Po, Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun, embodying the longest tunnel link (5.5 km) and viaduct (13 km) and making it the largest infrastructure project in Hong Kong in recent years.

The opening of West Rail followed 6 weeks of fault-free trial operations, during which average daily punctuality reached 99%.