The MTR Corporation will build an extension of the Shenzhen Metro that will help connect Hong Kong and a new town north of Shenzhen city. Phase two of the Shenzhen Metro Line 4 will consist of 10 stations running through northern Shenzhen, including Lianhuabei, Longhua new town and Qinghu. It will connect with the line's phase one, which is managed by Shenzhen and comprises five stations starting from the Futian checkpoint. This means that passengers using the MTR's Lok Ma Chau spur line can get off at Lok Ma Chau, walk through the station lobby to Futian and board the metro to reach northern Shenzhen. The MTR Corporation (Shenzhen) signed a concession agreement yesterday with the Shenzhen municipal government to operate Line 4 for 30 years. Investing HK$5.8 billion, the company will design and build the extension, which is expected to start operating in 2011. But the company was not granted the right to develop property along the extension. Chow Chung-kong, chief executive officer of the MTR Corp, said the Shenzhen municipal government would extend appropriate financial support to the project, and fares would remain stable. He described the project as the biggest infrastructure item jointly developed across the two cities. 'We are delighted to have the opportunity to serve Shenzhen and contribute to its closer connection with Hong Kong,' he said. The MTR Corp is also working on arrangements to enable passengers to commute with the Octopus card and a Shenzhen equivalent system in both cities. A team of railway staff from Hong Kong and the mainland were to undertake the development, Mr Chow said. Transport minister Eva Cheng said the governments would study whether the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link could be connected to the extension to improve the regional network.