MTR & AIRPORT EXPRESS TRAINS
All train services in Hong Kong are operated exclusively by MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL), since the merger of MTR and KCR (Kowloon-Canton Railway) in December 2007. MTRCL also took over the Intercity cross-border through services to Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing formerly operated by KCR at the same time. During a five week period following the merger date all KCR signage and logos at KCR stations were replaced with MTR branding and final integration of the systems was completed by the end of September 2008. Under a 50-year agreement MTRCL pays Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) a fixed amount of HK$750 million annually plus a variable amount based on revenue in excess of HK$2.5 billion for operation of services and use of KCRC's rail assets.
Services can be categorised as;
MTR TRAIN SERVICES ("Heavy Rail")
MTR LIGHT RAIL
MTR INTERCITY PASSENGER SERVICES (KTT)
MTR TRAIN SERVICES
Hong Kong's MTR system opened on October 1st 1979 and initially served just one route serving nine stations between Kwun Tong and Shek Kip Mei. The first cross-harbour route was introduced in 1980 when the Kwun Tong Line was extended to Central. The system has since been expanded considerably and, following opening of the Kowloon Southern Link extending West Rail to Hung Hom in southern Kowloon on 16th August 2009, the system now comprises ten interconnected lines covering 218kms and serving 84 stations extending from Central, Causeway Bay and Kowloon to Lantau Island and the New Territories. About 1.6 billion passenger journeys are made on the MTR network each year with the record daily ridership being achieved during the 24-hour service operated on Christmas Eve 2010 when 5.6 million journeys were made.
EXISTING MTR LINES;
ISLAND LINE (serving northern and north-east Hong Kong Island from Sheung Wan to Chai Wan). Average daily patronage (December 2014) - 1,103,600.
TSUEN WAN LINE (from Central through the heart of Kowloon to Tsuen Wan). Average daily patronage (December 2014) - 1,115,500
TSUEN KWAN O LINE (from North Point on north-east HK Island to Tsuen Kwan O in south-east Kowloon with branches to Po Lam and LOHAS Park. Average daily patronage (December 2014) - 333,700
TUNG CHUNG LINE (from Hong Kong Station via west Kowloon along the northern coast of Lantau Island to Tung Chung). Average daily patronage (December 2014) - 245,900
KWUN TONG LINE (from central Kowloon serving northern, eastern and south east Kowloon). Average daily patronage (December 2014) - 615,300
EAST RAIL (former KCR line from Hung Hom in southern Kowloon via the New Territories to Lo Wu mainland border station and via a branch to Lok Ma Chau mainland border station). Average daily patronage (December 2014) - 1,054,800
MA ON SHAN LINE (former KCR branch line from East Rail at Tai Wai along the south side of the Shing Mun River Channel serving eastern New Territories New Towns terminating at Wu Kai Sha). Average daily patronage (December 2014) - 153,000
WEST RAIL (former KCR line from Hung Hom in southern Kowloon via West Kowloon and western New Territories to Tuen Mun). Average daily patronage (December 2014) - 448,500
DISNEYLAND RESORT LINE (a short dedicated branch line from the Tung Chung Line at Sunny Bay to Disneyland Resort Station). Average daily patronage (2010) - 11,000 AIRPORT EXPRESS LINE (serving Hong Kong International Airport, Tsing Yi, Kowloon and Hong Kong Stations).Average daily patronage (December 2014) - 42,000
WEST ISLAND LINE (extension of Island Line from Sheung Wan to Kennedy Town). This line opened on 28th December 2014 and has intermediate stations at HKU (Hong Kong University) and Sai Ying Pun. However, Sai Ying Pun Station will not open until 29th March 2015 owing to construction problems affecting two station exits. Average daily patronage since commencement of operation in December 2014 - 100,000.
FUTURE MTR LINES CURRENTLY UNDER CONSTRUCTION;
SOUTH ISLAND LINE (EAST) - will run from existing Admiralty Station to South Horizons with intermediate stops at Ocean Park, Wong Chuk Hang and Lei Tung. Original completion date put back by about 6 months and now expected in 2016. At the end of February 2015 overall works were 84% complete and in March 2015 MTR announced that Fully Automated Operation (FAM) on-track testing of the line between Wong Chung Hang and South Horizons stations was imminent. There were still, however, construction difficulties in the vicinity of Admiralty Station and FAM testing of the whole line will take place once all track laying and track-related works have been completed. The target for opening the line remains late 2016. MTR has purchased ten 3-carriage trains for the line at a cost of HK$540 million from Changchun Railway Vehicles Company, a subsidiary of China CNR Corporation. Each train will be able to carry up to 900 passengers, about 300 in each carriage.
KWUN TONG LINE EXTENSION - extension from the current Kwun Tong Line terminus at Yau Ma Tei Station to Whampoa (Hung Hom) with an intermediate station at Ho Man Tin. Completion delayed and now expected in 2016.
SHA TIN TO CENTRAL LINK - link line from existing East Rail Line Tai Wai Station to Admiralty Station with intermediate stations at Hin Keng, Diamond Hill (interchange station with Kwun Tong Line), Kai Tak, To Kwa Wan, Ma Tau Wai, Ho Man Tin (interchange station with Kwun Tong Line extension), Hung Hom, and Exhibition (Hong Kong Convention & Exhibition Centre). Projected completion date 2020.
GUANGZHOU - SHENZHEN - HONG KONG EXPRESS RAIL LINK (HONG KONG SECTION) - 26 km Hong Kong section of high-speed rail link (XRL) which will connect with the mainland section at the Hong Kong / Shenzhen border. Hong Kong section will terminate at a new station at West Kowloon, the only station on the Hong Kong section of the line. The mainland section of the line from Shenzhen North to Guangzhou South Station (at Shibu in Panyu) with intermediate station at Humen is already open. There will be an additional station at Futian, Shenzhen on the mainland border. At Guangzhou South the line connects to the Chinese national high-speed rail network. Construction has been delayed owing to unforeseen adverse ground conditions and the Hong Kong section of the line is currently expected to open in 2017.
RAIL DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY 2014
In September 2014, following a three year study, the Transport and Housing Development Bureau announced its Rail Development Strategy 2014 which sets out a framework for Hong Kong's railway development until 2031. On completion of the recommended schemes the network will include the following additional new lines, extensions and stations;
NORTHERN LINK AND KWU TUNG STATION - a major regional line connecting existing West Rail and East Rail Lines by linking Kam Sheung Road Station on West Rail with a new station at Kwu Tung on the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line. Indicative implementation* 2018 to 2023.
HUNG SHUI KIU STATION - a new intermediate station on West Rail Line between Tin Shui Wai Station and Siu Hong Station. Indicative implementation* 2021 to 2024.
TUNG CHUNG WEST EXTENSION - westward extension of the existing Tung Chung Line from Tung Chung Station to a new station at Tung Chung West. Indicative implementation* 2020 to 2024.
TUEN MUN SOUTH EXTENSION - extension of West Rail Line southward from Tuen Mun Station to a new station at Tuen Mun South. Indicative implementation* 2019 to 2022.
EAST KOWLOON LINE - a new line running from the existing Diamond Hill Station on Kwun Tong Line (and the future Sha Tin to Central Link) to the existing Po Lam Station on Tsueng Kwan O Line with new stations at Choi Wan, Shun Tin, Sau Mau Ping and Po Tat. Indicative implementation* 2019 to 2025.
SOUTH ISLAND LINE (WEST) - a new line linking the South Island Line) East (currently under construction) at Wong Chuk Hang Station to the West Island Line (currently under construction) at Hong Kong University Station with new stations at Queen Mary Hospital, Cyberport, Wah Fu, Tin Wan and Aberdeen. Indicative implementation* 2021 to 2026.
NORTH ISLAND LINE - a new line on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island formed by extending the Tung Chung Line eastward from Hong Kong Station and the Tsueng Kwan O Line westward from North Point Station with new stations at Causeway Bay North and Tamar and interconnecting with the future Central - Sha Tin Link at Exhibition Station. Indicative implementation* 2021 to 2026.
* Indicative implementation dates are for planning purposes and are the indicative period from commencement to completion of construction.
The full MTR NETWORK MAP and JOURNEY PLANNER can be viewed here;
Direction sign to MTR Station
Stations and trains are spotlessly clean, well lit and safe and trains frequent and reliable. Most station platforms are served by escalators and lifts and many stations are now equipped with platform safety doors under an ongoing upgrade programme. In March 2012, MTR announced that 13 stations are to be equipped with new lifts between concourse and street level, with four being completed by the end of 2012 and the remainder by mid 2016. As at mid-2014, of the 83 MTR stations operating daily 75 stations had lifts serving the station concourse. Of the remaining eight stations, lifts are expected to have been installed at Prince Edward, Admiralty, Sai Wan Ho, Yau Ma Tei and Shau Kei Wan within two years. At Diamond Hill lifts are to be installed in tandem with works for the Sha Tin to Central Link, at Fortress Hill it is planned that government owned external lifts (connecting street level with the top of the hill) will be extended down to the station concourse but at Tin Hau no suitable location for retrofitting of a lift has yet been identified.
Station platforms and concourses are ventilated and air-conditioned with temperatures being kept at 27C and 29C respectively.
Entry to station platform is via barriers which are operated by single-journey ticket, Octopus Card or various MTR passes such as One-Day Tourist Pass or Airport Express Travel Pass.
Station platform entry barriers operated by single-journey ticket, Octopus Card or various types of MTR pass
Wide barrier for passengers with luggage or special needs
Several stations have free internet access via terminals at iCentres in the concourse. However, from July 2013 free wi-fi hotspots will be available at the paid areas of all MTR stations, but not on platforms or trains. Each wi-fi session is limited to 15 minutes and a maximum of 5 sessions per day. Transferring between interconnecting lines is usually fast and simple and at many stations simply involves walking a few metres to an adjacent platform. Some subways at interconnecting stations East Tsim Sha Tsui/Tsim Sha Tsui stations and Central/Hong Kong Stations are equipped with moving walkways.
MTR Central Station Island Line platform
As at June 2014 there were toilet facilities at 41 of the 83 stations on the network open daily, including all stations on the former KCR East Rail and West Rail lines, the Ma On Shan Line, Disneyland Resort Line and Airport Express Line and some stations on the Tung Chung Line. Public toilets are available within 200-metres of all stations not provided with toilet facilities except Prince Edward. In March 2012, MTRCL has indicated that of the twenty interchange stations on the MTR network, the ten currently without public toilets would be equipped with toilets by 2020, with Mongkok, Prince Edward and Admiralty stations, where major reconstruction work is to be carried out, being equipped by 2015. At stations not equipped with public toilets, MTR staff have been instructed to allow passengers to use staff toilets on request. Public toilets have also been built by MTRCL at public transport interchanges connected to four stations on the Tsuen Kwan O Line and public toilets will be provided within, or adjacent to, stations of new lines and extensions in future. Since 2008 MTRCL has been undergoing its "In Touch With Nature" refurbishment programme for the East Rail (former KCR) line which will see refurbishment of all stations on the line by 2016 using an architectural theme with earth-toned materials in warm and natural colours. Tai Po Market was the first station to be completed and work at Mongkok East Station was also completed during 2010. Refurbishment work at Shatin, Fanling and Sheung Shui stations had been completed by mid-2013. The whole refurbishment programme is expected to cost about HK$4 billion.
MTR train interior
Train seats are rather austere, polished steel benches and standing is commonplace. Eating, drinking and smoking are not allowed in trains or on platforms. In July 2010 MTR began a programme of replacing some seats on Island Line trains with wall-mounted supports for standing passengers to create more standing room and space for passengers with wheelchairs, luggage and baby strollers. Trains on the Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong and Tsueng Kwan O lines will also be refitted in due course.
Since mid-2010, commencing with Island Line trains, MTR has begun creating more luggage space by removing some seats and replacing with wall-mounted supports (see right of picture) for standing passengers
Mobile phone signals can be received throughout the whole system and 4G technology was introduced at the busiest stations from late-2012 and was available throughout the whole network by mid-2013.
Platform screen doors were retro-fitted to platforms at all above-ground and open stations by the end of 2011, with the exception of East Rail and Ma On Shan lines, where it was not considered viable owing to curved platforms at stations on these lines. However, platform screen doors will be installed at the 22 stations on these lines during construction of the new Sha Tin to Central Link Line which is due to open in 2018. The programme for retro-fitting platform screen doors was funded by a ten cent levy on all journeys taken using Octopus Card which commenced in 2000 and ended in December 2013, two years ahead of the original date. Outstanding work is being funded from MTR’s internal resources.
Directions to lines and platforms within MTR interchange stations are clearly signed
Information boards indicate which exits are nearest to local buildings and attractions
Luggage is allowed on the MTR but, for safety reasons, passengers are requested to use the lifts (where available) rather than escalators
Since 2008 MTR Corporation has brought into service 22 new trains and renovated 69 existing trains internally to make boarding and disembarking easier and also make trains easier for disabled passengers to use. New internal and external colour schemes have been introduced with white, green and purple replacing silver, red and blue. The additional trains were to acquired to cope with the increase in passengers following opening in August 2009 of the Kowloon Southern Link which connects East Rail and West Rail. In November 2008 MTR placed its first order with a mainland Chinese company, Changchun Railway Vehicles, for ten new trains costing HK$1.1 billion to be delivered in 2011/2012 to improve frequency on the Island, Kwun Tong, Tsuen Wan and Tseung Kwan O lines. Four of the new trains underwent testing on the Kwun Tong Line from October 2011 with the first new train being introduced into service on 7th December 2011. By March 2012 five new trains were in service enabling 370 additional journeys a week and increased service frequencies on the Tsuen Wan Line at peak times and on the Tseung Wan, Kwun Tong and Island Lines at weekends. The new trains have LCD screens in each compartment to provide audio-visual infotainment, CCTV cameras and improved ventilation. Floors, designed to reduce noise from under the train, and rubber seals fitted around door frames ensure quieter journeys. In March 2015 announced that it was planning to spend about HK$7 billion to refurbish or replace 78 trains used on the Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line and Tseung Kwan O Line. The tendering process was completed by the end of April 2015 and a final decision on whether to replace or refurbish is expected to be made in July or August 2015 after the four tenders have been evaluated. The trains are part of the fleet of 98 first generation trains manufactured by UK based Metro-Cammell, most of which 83 were introduced in 1979, 15 in 1989, all of which were refurbished in 2000.
After final integration of the MTR/KCR networks was completed in September 2008 interchange barriers at Kowloon Tong, Nam Cheong and Mei Foo were removed enabling passengers seamless interchange between MTR and former KCR lines.
In November 2009, in a bid to improve caring and courteous behaviour, MTR introduced a pilot scheme for priority seats on the Kwun Tong, Island, East Rail, West Rail, Tsuen Kwan O, Ma On Shan and Tung Chung Lines. One pair of seats located near the doors in selected carriages of trains on each of these lines are designated Priority Seats with the intention that these be offered to people in need such as elderly, pregnant, handicapped or injured. During the first month of the pilot MTR Ambassadors on board trains rewarded passengers who offer their seats to others with free single-journey tickets.
Priority Seats for the needy have been a feature of MTR trains since November 2009
MTR fares increased by an average of 2.05% from 13th June 2010, the first fare increase in 13 years. However, journeys on Airport Express Line, journeys to the border stations of Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau which commence from stations south of MTR East Rail Tai Wai Station and MTR cross-boundary Inter-City services were excluded from the increase. A further fare increase of 2.2% which saw most fares rise by ten or twenty cents per journey was implemented on 13th June 2011.
From 17th June 2012, a fare increase, averaging 5.4%, the maximum allowed under the government's fare adjustment mechanism based on a formula which combines the consumer price index and transport wage rises, took effect. Single-journey fares under HK$7 and Airport Express fares were not adjusted at June 2012. Single-journey ticket fare adjustments are made in units 50 cents (MTR Ticket Issuing Machines accept coins in denominations of 50 cents, 1 dollar, 2 dollars, 5 dollars and 10 dollars). Single-journey fares under HK$7 were not increased as it was considered the percentage increase would be disproportionate, with the result that there were 596 journeys (representing about 2% of a total of all fare combinations and mainly child and senior concessionary fares), where single-journey fares were lower than Octopus Card fares by between 10 cents and 40 cents.
Following a five-yearly review of the fare adjustment mechanism (FAM) by the government, MTR fares were further increased by 2.7% overall from 30th June 2013, which is less than the 3.2% increase which would have applied under the original adjustment formula. Under the new formula agreed between the government and MTR, a more objective and transparent methodology is used to calculate the value of the Productivity Factor in the FAM formula. About 73% of fares will increase by no more than 20 cents and about 2% of fares remain unchanged.
To mitigate the fare adjustments MTR Corporation is offering a new package of concessions including a new MTR City Saver ticket scheme, from no later than 2nd quarter 2014, whereby a HK$400 pass will enable passengers to bulk purchase 40 MTR journeys within 30 days within a pre-designated urban area. The "10% Same-Day Second-Trip Discount" promotion, which had been due to expire 30th June 2013 was extended to 31st March 2014.
A further fare increase averaging 3.6% is to take effect from 29th June 2014. The rise has again been calculated in accordance with the government's revised Fare Adjustment Mechanism. The fare increase will be the fifth consecutive year in which fares have risen. MTR made a net profit of HK$13 billion for the year ended December 2013 and will allocate HK$152.5 million to reinstate the 10% same day second journey discount scheme from June 2014, which includes payment of a HK$27.5 million fine for service disruptions in 2013 and HK$125 million which the company is required to share with passengers from HK$8.6 billion "underlying profits". The same day second journey 10% discount which expired on 31st March 2014 will be reinstated from 29th June 2014 and will continue until 30th April 2015.
In March 2015 MTR announced an overall fare adjustment of +4.3% from 21st June 2015. Fares for 41% of all passenger journeys will rise by 10 or 20 cents, for 25.4% of all passenger journeys the increase will be 30 or 40 cents, 11.9% of journeys will increase by 50 cents and 19.2 % by over 50 cents. 2.5% of fares will remain unchanged. MTR will offer a package of promotions during 2015/16 including a "10% Same-Day Second-Trip Octopus Discount" which will run from 21st June to 30th November 2015 and "MTR Festive Discount" which will operate on six designated days during Christmas 2015, Lunar New Year 2016 and Easter 2016 when Adult Octopus Card holders will be able to travel at Child Octopus concessionary fares. Other concessionary Octopus Card holders will pay a flat fare of HK$1 per journey on these days but the promotion excludes Airport Express, journeys commencing or terminating at Lo Wu or Lok Ma Chau Station, first-class travel on East Rail Line and MTR Feeder Bus journeys. Other promotions include a one year extension of the "MTR City Saver" which was introduced in June 2014 and is aimed at frequent travellers taking medium and long distance cross-harbour journeys and a one year extension of the "Early Bird Discount Promotion" introduced in September 2014 which encourages passengers to use the MTR outside the morning peak period by offering a 25% discount to Adult Octopus Card holders when exiting from 29 core urban stations between 7-15am and 8-15am on Monday to Friday (except during holidays).
Owing to "fare rounding" following fare adjustments, whereby single-journey ticket fares are priced in increments of 50 cents and Octopus fares are priced in increments of 20 cents there have, until recently, been a number of journeys where Octopus fares are more expensive than single-journey ticket fares. Following the June 2014 fare adjustment these have been eliminated apart from a small number of Light Rail single-journey ticket fares and a chart detailing these journeys and fares can be found at this link;
MTR introduced a 30-day "City Saver" ticket from 1st June 2014 which costs HK$400 and provides 40 trips throughout an urban network encompassing 54 stations on the Island Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong Line, Tseung Kwan O Line and Tung Chung Line between Hong Kong and Tsing Yi.
Using the MTR is simple. Entry and exit barriers are automated and operated by either Octopus Card or by single journey ticket which can be obtained from ticket machines in the station. Tickets and Octopus Cards can also be purchased at Customer Service Centres within each station. Automatic Card Readers at the entry and exit barriers at each station encode the journey details on the magnetic strip and either deduct the correct fare from the Octopus Card on exit at the destination station or if a single journey ticket is used, retain the ticket. MTR commenced to introduce “Smart” single-journey tickets from 20th October 2013, with Olympic Station being the first station to accept such tickets and eight more stations, Kam Sheung Road, Heng Fa Chuen, Tai Wo Hau, LOHAS Park, Ngau Tau Kok, Sunny Bay, Che Kung Temple and Fo Tan following during the same month. Magnetic-strip tickets are no longer be sold at these stations but at least one exit and entry gate at each station will accept magnetic stripe tickets to enable passengers to enter and exit all stations regardless of ticket type. Passengers with smart tickets should use the designated blue platform entry barriers and tap the ticket on the card reader (in the same manner as passengers using Octopus Card). At the exit barriers passengers should insert the ticket in the card slot where the card is retained and not returned to the passenger. The HK$200 million smart ticket programme is expected to be completed at all 82 stations by the end of June 2014. Only about 5% of journeys are made using single-journey tickets since most passengers use Octopus Card.
Services operate at frequent intervals from approx 06-00 to 00-30.
MTR has a luggage limit which stipulates that which stipulate passengers may each carry one piece of luggage with the total dimension (length, width and height) not exceeding 170cm and the length of any one side not exceeding 130cm. This has not been rigidly enforced. However, from 9th October 2012, initially for a trial period of three months, MTR has imposed a 32kg weight limit on luggage being carried by passengers on East Rail Line. The trial was extended from January 2013 until further notice and, from 4th February 2013, the weight limit was reduced to 23kg. This is in addition to the existing MTR luggage limit which stipulates that passengers may carry one piece of luggage with total dimension (length, width, height) of 170cm and the length of any one side not exceeding 130cm. All passengers entering platforms through wide entry gates at Lo Wu, Lok Ma Chau, Sheung Shui, Fanling, Tai Po Market and Fo Tan stations must have their luggage weighed and passengers with overweight luggage will be requested to leave the station. At other stations on East Rail Line smaller weighing scales are being provided where passengers may be requested to weigh luggage if it is suspected of being overweight. The trial has been implemented in specific response to complaints and demonstrations from the general public in relation to the activities of cross-border parallel traders who regularly use the MTR to transport large quantities of boxes of goods weighing up to 80kg on trolleys, causing congestion within trains and outside stations and on station platforms at stations near the border. MTR has a dedicated By-laws Inspection Unit (BIU), which is being increased from 39 to 59 members to enforce MTR By-laws at East Rail Line stations, supported by a team of more than 90 private security personnel. The passenger luggage weight limit applies only on East Rail Line and not on other MTR lines.
By late 2012, service enhancements on the Tung Chung, Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan lines had been implemented, providing an additional 530 journeys a week, allowing a weekly increase in passenger capacity of 1.3 million. On the Tung Chung Line, at peak hours the proportion of trains reaching Tung Chung, rather than terminating at Tsing Yi, is increased from about half to two-thirds. Also on the Tung Chung Line, at weekends, train frequency increased to every 6 and a half minutes, whereas previous frequency was 8 to 10 minutes. On the Kwun Tong and Tsuen Wan lines, from 9.30am to 7.30pm on Saturdays, train frequency is increased from three to two and a half minutes and from 7.30pm to midnight, four minutes instead of five. Further service enhancements are being implemented in phases from April 2014 to August 2014 which will result in an additional 329 journeys a week to reduce waiting times and overcrowding.
As part of energy saving measures, MTR is to adopt a "bowl-shaped" track design at stations on all future lines including five projects currently under construction and due for completion between 2014 and 2020: Sha Tin to Central Link, West Island Line, South Island Line, Kwun Tong Line Extension and "Xpress Rail" high-speed link from Guangzhou to West Kowloon. The track design will dip the train down as it leaves a station and raise it when approaching the next one, resulting in trains starting from stations with more energy and arriving with less resulting in less electricity consumption and fewer carbon emissions.
In 2012 MTR revised its policy on service suspension during adverse weather conditions. All above ground train services will be suspended when a No 9 typhoon signal or higher is hoisted. Services at all stations on East Rail Line, Ma On Shan Line, Tung Chung Line, Disneyland Resort Line and Airport Express Line is suspended. Some stretches of the Tsuen Wan Line, Kwun Tong Line, Island Line and West Rail Line, Light Rail and MTR buses will also be suspended.
In August 2014 MTR announced a major upgrade to Hung Hom Station which is to become a major interchange station on completion of the Shatin to Central Link, currently under construction and due for completion in 2018. Two new platform levels will be built as well as mid-level walkway between concourse and platform levels directly connected to the concourse by lifts and escalators to improve connectivity for passengers travelling between the station and the Cross-Harbour Tunnel Plaza, Hung Hom district and Tsim Sha Tsui. Work is expected to commence in September 2014.
In September 2014 seven new major rail projects, commencing from 2020 at a total estimated cost of about HK$110 billion, were announced by the Hong Kong Government. The projects are the Northern Link and Kwu Tung Station, the Tuen Mun South Extension, the East Kowloon Line, the Tung Chung West Extension, Hung Shui Kiu Station, the South Island Line (West) and the North Island Line.
Fares are inexpensive and full details of fares, routes and journey times are available from the MTR Journey Planner;
In addition, MTR has four apps available for mobile devices;
The popular “MTR MOBILE” app, originally launched in October 2010, jpurney planner with fare information, has since been enhanced from June 2012 with a search function for point-to-point first and last train information and location of barrier-free facilities. A full revamp to create an even better user interface of this app is to be carried out in late 2012.
“NEXT TRAIN”, launched 14th June 2012, provides real-time information on the next four trains arriving at a specified station on the Tung Chung Line and Airport Express.
“MTR TOURIST”, launched 14th June 2012, assists visitors in navigating around the MTR system by providing a journey planner with relevant information such as routing, interchange stations, platform numbers and the exit nearest to the intended destination or tourist attraction. The app also includes a point to point visitor attraction search, Tourist Ticket information, details of Airport Express Shuttle Bus services, Intercity service information and travel tips.
MTR “TRAFFIC NEWS”, launched September 2012, provides information during serious train service disruptions. It includes notification of train service suspensions or serious disruptions of 20 minutes or more, information on train service when Typhoon Signal No. 8 or above is issued, notices related to overnight train services during special festive days, e.g. New Year’s Eve overnight service and a search function for Rail Service Suspension –Passenger Guide.
In the Hong Kong SAR Chief Executive's Policy Address on 12th October 2011 it was announced that Hong Kong residents age 65 and over and people with disabilities will be able to make journeys on public transport, including MTR, for a maximum fare of HK$2 per ride when using Octopus Card. The scheme, which benefits some 1.1 million people is being introduced in phases, with the first phase of the scheme, applicable to MTR journeys became operational on 28th June 2012. Under the terms of the "Public Transport Fare Concession Scheme for the Elderly and Elegible Persons with Disabilities", the government reimburses transport companies for lost revenue. Prior to the introduction of this scheme, holders of the Elder Octopus Card were elegible for maximum HK$2 fare for MTR journeys taken on Wednesdays, Saturdays and public holidays in addition to normal concessionary fares on other days.
MTR Single-journey ticket machine. Machines accept coins but not notes. With a few exceptions single journey ticket fares are more expensive than journeys made using Octopus Card
Add-Value machine for "topping-up" Octopus Card credit
During November 2010 MTR installed about 40 portable life-saving defibrillators at 10 of its busiest stations under a trial scheme. During that period defibrillators were used three times and in October 2011 MTR decided to equip all 84 MTR stations with defibrillators. The 237 defibrillators, which cost a total of HK$3.5 million, are available at customer service centres or platform booths and MTR's 750 managers have been trained by the Fire Services Department in cardio pulmonary resuscitation and the use of defibrillators.
MTR train arriving at Tai Po Market Station on East Rail Line
The Airport Express operates over a 35.3km line from Hong Kong Station on Hong Kong Island via Kowloon, Tsing Yi and Hong Kong International Airport stations to Asia World-Expo Station which is just a short distance beyond the airport. It provides a fast dedicated service to and from the airport and carries an average of 33,000 passengers daily (2010) of which about one-third are business travellers. Tsing Yi and Kowloon Stations are interchange stations for the MTR network. Hong Kong Station is also served by the Tung Chung Line and is connected to MTR Central Station by subway and moving walkways. Journey times to/from the airport are;
Tsing Yi Station 12 minutes
Kowloon Station 20 minutes
Hong Kong Station 24 minutes
From the airport to Asia World-Expo is an additional 4 minutes journey time.
Trains to/from the airport operate daily every 10 minutes from 05-50 until midnight and every 12 minutes from midnight until close of service at 00-48.
For more information regarding Airport Express see TO/FROM AIRPORT
Airport Express Train passing through Sunny Bay Station
Airport Express train interior
MTR LIGHT RAIL
The MTR Light Rail system was commissioned in September 1988 and formerly operated by KCR until December 2007.
Modern electric “streetcars” operate frequent services along twelve interconnecting lines serving 36.15kms and 68 stations in the New Towns and suburbs of Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai, Yuen Long and Tuen Mun in the western New Territories. Some of the stations are interchange stations with MTR West Rail. The current fleet of train cars numbers 141, having been increased from 119 in 2008 with the phasing in of an additional 22 LRV's costing HK$400 million between 2009 and 2010 in order to meet additional demand after following commissioning of the Kowloon Southern Link in September 2009 and population growth in the New Territories. The new trains incorporate CCTV surveillance and a new internal and external livery which is being extended to the existing fleet. The 69 first-generation LRV's were refurbished to improve comfort and capacity in a programme which was completed in 2011. MTR Light Rail operates about 2,800 services a day with each train able to carry up to 250 passengers. The average daily patronage at the end of 2013 is about 590,000. The system is supported by a fleet of 116 MTR feeder buses. From April 2014 the Light Rail service is to be strengthened with an additional 148 journeys a day, mainly between Tin Shui Wai and Tuen Mun, which will increase the daily passenger capacity of the system to about 720,000.
The Light Rail System is easy to use. Fare payment can be made either by Octopus Card or by individual journey ticket which can be obtained from ticket machines on the platform. The system is based on honesty and there are no entry or exit barriers at stations. Passengers simply walk onto the platform and either validate Octopus Card or buy a ticket from a ticket machine. On disembarking at the destination station the Octopus Card must be "touched" on one of the card readers on the platform to ensure the correct fare is deducted.
Owing to "fare rounding" when fares are increased, whereby Octopus fares are calculated in increments of 20 cents and Single-Journey Ticket fares are calculated in increments of 50 cents, a small number of Single-Journey Ticket fares are lower than Octopus fares. Details of these journeys and fares following the June 2014 fare adjustment can be found at this link;
Light Rail Octopus platform entry fare processor
Light Rail Octopus platform exit fare processor
Light Rail instruction notice for Octopus Card users
Fares are structured by zone, there being five zones. Spot ticket checks are carried out by MTR revenue protection staff and hefty fines can be imposed for non payment. Detailed route maps are displayed on all station platforms. Services operate from approx 05-30 to 01-00.
For full schedules see;
For a detailed map of the Light Rail system see;
First generation single-car Light Rail unit at Ching Chung Station, Tuen Mun. Many services are also operated by two-car units
Interior of first-generation Light Rail car
Second generation Light Rail car in new livery, seen leaving Lam Tei Station
Interior of second-generation Light Rail car
MTR Light Rail also operates some feeder bus services mainly in the North West New Territories along routes serving Light Rail and West Rail
MTR INTERCITY PASSENGER SERVICES (KTT)
Since 2007, MTR, in conjunction with the Chinese mainland authorities, has operated cross border Intercity through passenger services which had formerly been operated by KCR since 1998. These services, known as the Guangzhou - Kowloon Through Train (KTT), start from the terminus at Hung Hom in Kowloon. Hung Hom Station is also served by MTR East Rail.
There are twelve daily services from Hung Hom to Guangzhou East of which ten call at Dongguang with a journey time of approx 1 hour 40 minutes. One service calls at Foshan and terminates at Zhaoqing, a journey time of around 4 hours.
There are also trains to and from Beijing West (journey time 24 hours) and Shanghai (journey time 20 hours) on alternate days.
Hong Kong Immigration formalities are completed at Hung Hom Station (not at the border).
For full timetable, fares, ticketing and online ticket purchase see;
In June 2012 CSR Sifang, a subsidiary of China's leading train manufacturer, China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation Limited, was awarded a contract to supply 50 new T-class carriages for the KTT which began being introduced into service in 2013. The carriages comprise 40 cushioned-seat carriages, five combined cushioned-seat and luggage carriages and five dining cars. Additionally, in order to increase capacity on the service, a ninth carriage was added to existing eight carriage sets.
Guangzhou - Hong Kong Intercity Express passing through University Station
A new HK$39.5 billion express rail link between Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Guangzhou is being planned by MTR Corporation. The line known as "Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link" (XRL) will run from its terminus at West Kowloon via Futian Station in Shenzhen to Guangzhou East Station. Construction is expected to begin in 2009 and when the line comes into operation by 2017 will enable the journey time from Hong Kong to Guangzhou to be reduced from nearly two hours to just 48 minutes and to Shenzhen to 14 minutes. For more information on XRL see WHAT'S PLANNED