The planned high-speed rail link between Hong Kong and Shenzhen airports may hook up with Hong Kong's local railway network in a bid to create a larger pool of passengers and boost development in the northwestern New Territories, sources said. That means the express rail link, originally planned as a direct link taking just 17 minutes to travel between the two airports, would have a stop connecting it to West Rail. The stop would be in Yuen Long or Tuen Mun, and the government is looking at which option would offer the best opportunities. Tuen Mun councillors have been mobilising the community to fight for the station to be built there, but a source said the government was leaning towards Yuen Long. 'New developments are planned in Yuen Long and it is close to the [Lok Ma Chau] checkpoint, so it may allow more people to use the rail,' a government source said. A feasibility study on the rail link, which will include information on its route and estimated cost, will be released by the end of this month. Having a stop in Yuen Long would not only provide people in Futian with a fast track to Chek Lap Kok airport, but it would also allow mainland passengers a shorter trip to centres such as Tsim Sha Tsui. However, the government is still debating if the station should be built at the same time as the rail link. 'Construction of a rail line takes at least eight to 10 years after it is proposed, so even if early passenger forecasts do not support the construction of a stop, by the time the rail line is finished the situation could be quite different,' a government source said. The idea of a high-speed rail link that will shorten journeys between Chek Lap Kok and Shenzhen Baoan International airport from an hour to about 20 minutes was first proposed by the Bauhinia Foundation, a think-tank close to the government, in August last year. The express link would not open before 2016 - several years behind an intercity rail link between Shenzhen airport and Guangzhou, expected to begin running in 2011. The 12.5 billion yuan (HK$14 billion) Guangzhou-Dongguan-Shenzhen rail link will connect to the Hong Kong-Shenzhen airport route. Bauhinia Foundation researcher Zhu Wenhui said the connection would give the airport railway nearly 30 million potential passengers. 'With or without Hong Kong, the railway loop that links up the entire Pearl River Delta will be completed in a few years, so we can hook up or we can be left out,' Dr Zhu said. Law Cheung-kwok, associate director of the Aviation Policy and Research Centre at Chinese University, has warned that the cost of the railway would not be sustainable as there are already many cross-border transport choices offered at Hong Kong airport.