The central Government gave approval in principle yesterday for construction of an express railway linking Guangdong, Hong Kong and Shenzhen. The Ministry of Railways will set up a group to co-ordinate the project, examining the route, funding and time frame. The approval came during a high-level meeting in Beijing yesterday attended by Chief Secretary Donald Tsang Yam-kuen and mainland officials. Mr Tsang proposed the idea to Guangzhou officials when he visited the city last September. 'Both of us believe this is an important project. The mainland believes this is beneficial to both sides and it has to be built,' Mr Tsang said after the meeting, which was initiated by Chief Executive Tung Chee-hwa. It is estimated the line will be about 30km long. SAR officials had earlier suggested a magnetic line could be built that would cut travelling time from Hong Kong to Guangzhou to 30 minutes. Both sides also agreed to set up a group to co-ordinate the development of port, railway, airport and container terminal facilities in the Pearl River Delta. The vice-chairman of the State Development Planning Commission, Zhang Guobao, who headed the mainland team, will lead a delegation to Hong Kong after the Lunar New Year to receive an update. 'We hope to avoid any . . . competition and duplication of resources, though I haven't seen any,' Mr Tsang said. Mr Zhang said after the meeting that Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta should complement each other, particularly on infrastructure and logistics projects.