Guangdong is extending inter-city railway construction to Hengqin Island in Zhuhai city by 2016, which is expected to link to Macau in the future. Trains on the current Guangzhou-Zhuhai railway have been running at about 150km/h since January last year. Passengers leave Guangzhou South station in Panyu and arrive in Zhuhai North station on the city's outskirt in about 40 minutes. With options to stop over at Zhongshan or Jiangmen , the railway has significantly reduced the travelling time of 21/2 hours by car. According to the Guangzhou Daily, a new railway is being planned to cover downtown Zhuhai in Gongbei, Zhuhai airport and the Hengqin special economic zone. An environmental impact assessment report for the railway link from Gongbei to Zhuhai Airport has been approved, and construction is expected to begin by year's end. The line will be extended by 35.3 kilometres and trains will run at 160km/h, according to the paper, which cited unidentified Zhuhai government sources. It is expected to have an hourly carrying capacity of 24,000 people from Gongbei to the airport in just 25 minutes. The current travelling time by road is an hour. The authorities are evaluating the environmental impact of the rail link between Gongbei and Hengqin. The line will be about 17 kilometres long, with seven stops from Zhuhai station to Hengqin's Changlong park. It will be designed to carry trains travelling at 100km/h, according to Guangzhou Daily. Meanwhile, the project will provide Hengqin the option of building an inter-city rail link to Macau in the future, according to media reports. Professor Hung Wing-tat, a transport analyst, said the project would benefit Hong Kong in the future.