After a long break, the first bullet train from Hong Kong left for mainland China on January 15.
Ticket sales are limited as rail operators try to avoid the chaos of the national New Year holidays and rush.
With about 80 trains scheduled on the line daily, they will cut travel time from Hong Kong to the mainland city of Guangzhou from two hours to just 47 minutes.
MTR Corporation, which operates the Hong Kong portion of the route, said more than 3,000 tickets were sold to the mainland on Thursday.
High-speed trains from West Kowloon will run to North Shenzhen and South Guangzhou — two large transit hubs — for further trips to other Chinese provinces. A stop in Guangzhou East has been added for the first time.
Hong Kong Transport and Logistics Minister Lam Sai-Hung said the city government is working to simplify immigration and customs procedures.
Chinese ticket booking app 12306 shows that during the celebration of the Lunar New Year, from January 15 to January 21, all trains are almost full, there are no more than 10 tickets left for each.
The once-busy borders between Hong Kong and the mainland have been all but closed since the start of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020, placing a heavy burden on families and businesses on both sides.
A tourism boom is now expected as the tradition of celebrating the Lunar New Year back to the family calendar.
Before the resumption of high-speed service, Hong Kong had a daily quota of 60,000 visitors arriving from the mainland through seven border checkpoints.
But according to government statistics , fewer than 6,000 people in that category have been screened daily so far.
Kowloon West Station officially opened in 2018, overshadowed by a controversial cross-ownership agreement.
The legal basis for this agreement has been the subject of heated debate as critics see it as an infringement on the semi-autonomous status granted to Hong Kong when the former British The English colony was handed over to China in 1997.