I took the train from Futian Station to West Kowloon and back yesterday, just to see what it was like and to stock up on Marks & Spencer’s pork pies for the holiday. It costs 68rmb each way and takes about 15 minutes in the train. The stations are big so there’s quite a lot of walking involved, getting to the station and within it. Both sets of Immigration are in West Kowloon station and I was through mostly quickly, but not any faster than at Luohu/Lo Wu - probably slower because of the walking distance. The signage in both directions is good.
At 11:30am the taxi queue at West Kowloon was about 40 people, so maybe 20 taxis needed, but while watching for a timed 5 minutes only 3 taxis came. If that rate continued the people at the back would be waiting about half an hour. There is a short walk to Austin Station on the MTR West Rail Line, but that doesn’t get you to most places I’m interested in. I rode to and from East Tsim Sha Tsui station and, because of the need to go through immigration, I would have got home faster if I had gone the other way to Hung Hom and used East Rail.
The only place I saw substantial queues of people was at the ticket pick-up machines at West Kowloon. They advise you to be at the station 45 minutes before departure, but these queues looked longer than that. They are apparently enforcing the baggage weight and size restrictions.
I rode the Futian-West Kowloon shuttle so no other stations involved. The train down at 11am was full which surprised me and coming back at 3pm was 80% full. The large majority of the riders were Mainland Chinese.
Once you are in the departure hall at West Kowloon you know you are back in China. There is a smoking room and I saw a rat – I am sure that Hong Kong stations don’t have those.