Increased quality of life, smooth trade and flexibility for the entire megaregion of the Pearl River Delta - the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (XRL) is planned to contribute greatly to achieve these objectives. On a stretch of 140 kilometers the railway line will connect Hongkong and the megacities Shenzhen and Guangzhou with mainland China. The Express Rail Link is the core element of an ambitious plan turning the entire delta into a uniform economic urban area with a travel time of only an hour between each city.
Five Herrenknecht Mixshields and two EPB Shields have been driving a total of more than 26 tunnel kilometers on the section between the new station "West Kowloon Terminus" in Hongkong and the southern border of Guangdong Province since September 2010. The jobsite is completed from the Herrenknecht Group with navigation equipment (VMT), rolling stock (MSD), Multi-service vehicles (Techni-Métal) as well as specialized personnel (GTE). The last of the seven Herrenknecht tunnel boring machines reaches the target shaft in early November 2015 after best weeky tunnelling rates of up to 158 meters.
Mechanized tunnelling was the optimum solution to construct efficient traffic infrastructure fast and safely in the complex geological conditions of this densely-settled region. After completion of the XRL, the travel time between Guangzhou and Hongkong will be reduced to 48 minutes at speeds of up to 300 kilometers an hour. This helps to reduce travel time by 42 million hours per year.