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Officials greet first overnight high-speed trains

2024-06-16 HKT 12:48
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  • Officials greet first overnight high-speed trains
The first overnight high-speed trains from Beijing and Shanghai to Hong Kong arrived on Sunday morning, with tourism minister Kevin Yeung saying passengers were generally positive about the “sleep and arrive” arrangement.

Yeung and MTR CEO Jacob Kam welcomed passengers at Hong Kong West Kowloon Station and handed out souvenirs.

The tourism chief said passengers told him they thought it was good to be able to sleep on the train and arrive refreshed.

“I believe it provides an extra option. In the past, most travellers from Shanghai and Beijing would choose to take a plane. Even if they took high-speed trains, that would be during daytime,” he said.

“Now that the option of taking an overnight train is available, passengers can make better use of their time. They can sleep on the train and when they arrive in Hong Kong in the morning they can do the things they want. They have a whole day to travel.”

A passenger from Shanghai, who brought his son along to experience a sleeper train for the first time, said he was satisfied with the facilities, but his son had trouble sleeping.

"The noise level is a bit high. Otherwise it's quite good. There's no problem for an individual to fall asleep. During the trip the train passed through some tunnels that generated a big noise," he said.

Kam said while demand for the first few trains was really positive, it is still too early to discuss the possibility of increasing the frequency of services.

“We need to consider the passenger needs and the needs for various destinations. Also we need to consider that the sleeper trains pass through various railway tracks and they require maintenance. We need to strive a balance between maintenance work and the passenger need,” he said.

Meanwhile, the first Beijing-bound sleeper train from Hong Kong arrived in the capital on Sunday morning. Secretary for Transport Lam Sai-hung, who was onboard, said he really enjoyed his meal.

“I had grilled beef with king trumpet mushroom rice. The portion of the beef is quite large and there are many varieties of the side dishes. There are vegetables, meat and sauce, and the rice is also warm. Therefore I highly recommend it,” he said.

Lam said he was not worried that the new services will encourage more tourists not to stay in a hotel when they visit the SAR.

Four sleeper trains run every Friday to Monday night, with two travelling from Hong Kong to Shanghai and Beijing and two going in the opposite direction.

Officials greet first overnight high-speed trains