The line is 50.2km long with 8 stations, from , where it is linked to Guangshen railway, to or . The entire line is single-track and built at standard gauge . The maximum speed on the line is 75 km/h. The line is not electrified, and therefore only diesel locomotives are used on the line.
The railway was planned in the late 1980s to provide rail access for the Port of Shenzhen. It was the first railway in the People's Republic of China being built with both local and foreign capital.
Construction of the Pingnan railway was approved in 1991 by the and commenced in September that year. In March 1993 part of the route was opened for trial operation. The entire line was opened in September 1994 and included into the .
In late 2003 Shenzhen West railway station was renovated and enlarged from a few hundred square metres in area to about 3800 m?.
On 2007-09-02, two empty freight carriages were derailed at a switch beside Xili railway station. The carriages were damaged and services on the railway were suspended. Repair works were completed and services resumed by the following day.