MTR

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Mass Transit Railway or MTR (in Chinese, 香港鐵路有限公司, literally "Hong Kong Railway Company"; or 港鐵 for short) is the main rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong. Since the MTR service first opened in 1979, the network has grown to 150 stations.[1] Built and run by MTR Corporation Limited, the MTR system is a very popular mode of public transport in Hong Kong, with around 2.46 million[2] passengers riding each day.

Construction[change | edit source]

Hong Kong's growing economy caused a lot of traffic problems. Hong Kong government made a study of these problems.[3] The first line was opened in 1979. The MTR was popular quickly with the people of Hong Kong, so later they built more lines to cover more ground. People are still arguing about how and where to expand the MTR network next.

Network[change | edit source]

Line and livery Opening Year Latest Extension Termini Stations Running time (mins) Depot Gauge Voltage
Ex-MTR system
Kwun Tong Line 1979 2002 Yau Ma Tei Tiu Keng Leng 15 27 Kowloon Bay Depot 1432 mm DC 1500 V
Tsuen Wan Line 1982 N/A Central Tsuen Wan 16 30 Tsuen Wan Depot
Island Line 1985 1986 Sheung Wan Chai Wan 14 25 Chai Wan Depot
Tung Chung Line 1998 2005 Hong Kong Tung Chung 8 28 Siu Ho Wan Depot
Airport Express 1998 2005 AsiaWorld-Expo 5 28
Disneyland Resort Line 2005 N/A Sunny Bay Disneyland Resort 2 4
Tseung Kwan O Line 2002 2009 North Point Po Lam /
LOHAS Park
8 15 Tseung Kwan O Depot
Ex-KCR system
East Rail Line 1910 2007 Hung Hom Lo Wu /
Lok Ma Chau
14 40 / 43 Ho Tung Lau Depot 1435 mm AC 25000 V
West Rail Line 2003 2009 Hung Hom Tuen Mun 12 37 Pat Heung Depot
Ma On Shan Line 2004 N/A Tai Wai Wu Kai Sha 9 16 Tai Wai Depot
Light Rail (12 routes) 1988 2003 Varies Varies 68 Varies Tuen Mun Depot DC 750 V


System map of the MTR effective from 16 August 2009.

History of the MTR[change | edit source]

Route Map of the original system.
Causeway Bay station on the Island Line.
Prince Edward station in Kowloon, part of the Kwun Tong Line and the Tsuen Wan Line.
Central station on the Island Line and Tsuen Wan Line.
Admiralty Station on the Tsuen Wan Line and the Island Line.
Hong Kong station on the Tung Chung Line and Airport Express.
Tiu Keng Leng station on the Kwun Tong Line and Tsueng Kwan O Line.
Sunny Bay station on the Tung Chung Line and Disneyland Resort Line.

Initial proposal[change | edit source]

During the 1960s, the government of Hong Kong thought they need to accommodate increasing road traffic that growing Hong Kong's economy would bring. British transport consultants Freeman, Fox, Wilbur Smith & Associates were appointed to study the transport system of Hong Kong. The consultants released the Hong Kong Mass Transport Study in September 1967, which proposed the construction of a mass transport underground railway system in Hong Kong.[3]

In 1970, an underground network with four lines was laid out and planned as part of the British consultants' new report, Hong Kong Mass Transit: Further Studies. The four lines were to be the Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, and East Kowloon Line.[4] However, the lines that were eventually constructed were somewhat different compared with the lines that were originally proposed by the "Hong Kong Mass Transport Study".

In 1972, the Hong Kong government authorised construction of the Initial System, a 20-km system that roughly translates to the Kwun Tong Line today (except the line now extends to Tiu Keng Leng). Negotiations with four major construction consortia started in 1973. The government's intention was to tender the entire project, based on the British design, as a single tender at a fixed price. A consortium from Japan signed an agreement to construct the system in early 1974, but in December of the same year it pulled out from the agreement, stemming from fears of the Arab oil crisis.[5]

Modified Initial System (Kwun Tong Line / Tsuen Wan Line)[change | edit source]

Several weeks later, in early 1975, a government agency known as the Mass Transport Provisional Authority was established to take charge of the project. It announced that the Initial System would be slightly reduced to 15.6 kilometres, and renamed it the Modified Initial System. Plans for a single contract were also abandoned in favour of 25 engineering contracts and 10 electrical and mechanical contracts.

In addition, the government-owned Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) was established to replace the Mass Transport Provisional Authority. (This was the company succeeded by the MTR Corporation Limited on 30 June 2000)

Construction of the Modified Initial System (now part of Kwun Tong Line and Tsuen Wan Line) commenced in November 1975. After almost four years, the northern section was completed on 30 September 1979. On 1 October 1979, the northern section was opened, with trains running from Shek Kip Mei to Kwun Tong. The route from Tsim Sha Tsui to Shek Kip Mei was opened in December of the same year.[5]

In 1980, the first harbour crossing was made by an MTR train as the Kwun Tong Line was extended even farther to Chater station, now known as Central station. To deal with increasing patronage, trains were also extended to six cars.

Tsuen Wan Line[change | edit source]

The government approved construction of the Tsuen Wan Line in 1977, then known as Tsuen Wan Extension, and works commenced in November 1978. The project added a 10.5-kilometre section to the MTR system, from Prince Edward to Tsuen Wan. The line started service on 10 May 1982[5] with a total cost of construction (not adjusted for inflation) at HK$4.1 billion.

When service of this line started, the section of the Kwun Tong Line from Chater to Argyle, present-day Mong Kok station, was transferred to the Tsuen Wan Line. Thus, Waterloo became the terminus of the Kwun Tong Line, and both Argyle and Prince Edward stations became interchange stations. This change was made because system planners expected traffic of the Tsuen Wan Line would exceed that of the Kwun Tong Line. This forecast proved quite accurate, necessitating a bypass from the northwestern New Territories to Hong Kong Island. Launched in 1998, the Tung Chung Line serves exactly that purpose.[5]

Although land acquisitions were made for a station at Tsuen Wan West, the station was never built. This is not to be confused with Tsuen Wan West Station on KCR West Rail, which lies on the newly reclaimed area near the former ferry pier.

It is interesting to note that since the line's opening in 1982, this is the only line whose alignment has virtually remained the same for the past 23 years. For example, the Kwun Tong Line's alignment has changed for 2 times since its opening - the taking over of Tsuen Wan Line from Mong Kok to Central, and the taking over of Eastern Harbour Crossing section by the Tseung Kwan O Line.

Island Line[change | edit source]

Government approvals were granted for construction of the Island Line in December, 1980. Construction commenced in October, 1981. On 31 May 1985 the Island Line was opened with service between Admiralty and Chai Wan stations. Both Admiralty and Central stations became interchange stations with the Tsuen Wan Line. Furthermore, each train was extended to eight cars.[5]

On 23 May 1986, service reached Sheung Wan station. Construction for this station was delayed for one year as government offices which sat on top of the station had to be removed to a new location before construction could start.

Eastern Harbour Crossing extension[change | edit source]

In 1984, the government approved the construction of the Eastern Harbour Crossing, a tunnel to be used by cars and MTR trains. The Kwun Tong Line was extended across the harbour to Quarry Bay, which became an interchange station for the Kwun Tong Line and the Island Line. The extension was launched on 5 August 1989. An intermediate station, Lam Tin, started operations on 1 October 1989.[5]

Airport Express and Tung Chung Line[change | edit source]

The decision was made in October 1989 to construct a new international airport at Chek Lap Kok on Lantau Island to replace the overcrowded Kai Tak International Airport.[6] The government invited the MTR to build a train line, then known as the Lantau Airport Railway, to the airport. But construction did not begin until the Chinese and British governments settled their financial and land disagreements in November 1994.

In the end, the new line was included in the financing plans of the new Hong Kong International Airport as the airport was not considered viable without direct public transport links. Construction costs were also shared by the MTR which was granted many large-scale developments in the construction plans for the new stations.

The Lantau Airport Railway turned into two MTR lines, the Tung Chung Line and the Airport Express. The Tung Chung Line was officially opened on 21 June 1998 by Hong Kong Chief Executive Tung Chee Hwa, and service commenced the next day. The Airport Express opened for service on 6 July 1998 along with the new Hong Kong International Airport.[5]

The Airport Express line is the second most popular means of transport to the Hong Kong International Airport. In 2005, 22% of the commuters took the Airport Express to and from the airport.[7]

Tseung Kwan O Line[change | edit source]

The Tseung Kwan O Line was opened in 2002 to serve new housing developments

The Quarry Bay Congestion Relief Works involved extending the Hong Kong Island end of the Kwun Tong Line from Quarry Bay to North Point via a 4.2–kilometre tunnel. The project was initiated due to overcrowding at Quarry Bay and persistent passenger complaints about the five-minute walk from the Island Line platforms to the Kwun Tong Line platform. Construction began in September 1997 and was completed in September 2001 at a cost of HK$3.0 billion[8] (US$385 million). The tried-and-true cross-platform interchange arrangement is repeated here.

Construction of the Tseung Kwan O Line was approved on 18 August 1998 to serve new housing developments. Construction began on 24 April 1999 and the line officially opened in 2002, taking over the train tracks running through the Eastern Harbour Tunnel from the Kwun Tong Line, running from Po Lam to North Point. When the line was opened, the Kwun Tong Line was diverted to Tiu Keng Leng on the new line. Construction costs were partly covered by the Hong Kong Government and private developers which linked construction of the Tseung Kwan O Line to new real estate and commercial developments. Previously less developed areas were opened up for development with more transport options.[9]

West Rail Line[change | edit source]

While the construction of the Tung Chung Line was still underway, the plan to build a railway corridor serving the northwestern New Territories was conceived. Space had been reserved for the addition of an interchange station and two extra tracks (to allow nonstop service for the Airport Express) between Olympic and Lai King. Originally known as the Airport Railway Phase 2, the contracts of the West Rail Line Interface Works were awarded shortly after construction works of the West Rail commenced. The project comprised Mei Foo Interchange (modification of the existing Mei Foo station on the Tsuen Wan Line to provide a pedestrian link to the West Rail Line Mei Foo Station; Nam Cheong Station (an interchange station on the Tung Chung Line, jointly operated by the MTRCL and KCRC) and quadruplication works (the additional two tracks, four kilometres in length, allow the Tung Chung Line trains to stop at Nam Cheong without obstructing the passage of Airport Express trains).[10]

The works were completed in stages. The Tung Chung Line trains have been diverted to the new track since mid May 2003, whereas the Mei Foo station interchange subway and the Nam Cheong station were opened at the same time the West Rail Line opened for public use in December 2003. The Kowloon Southern Link extension from Nam Cheong Station to East Tsim Sha Tsui Station was opened on 16 August 2009, with West Rail Line trains now terminating at Hung Hom Station, interchange station for East Rail Line.

Interchange stations[change | edit source]

The interchange between the Tsuen Wan Line and the Kwun Tong Line, the Island Line and the Tseung Kwan O Line, as well as that between the Kwun Tong Line and the Tseung Kwan O Line, are two stations long, allowing cross-platform interchange wherein a passenger leaves a train on one side of the platform and boards trains on the other side of the platform for another line. For example, when passengers are travelling on the Kwun Tong Line towards Tiu Keng Leng, getting off at Yau Tong would allow them to switch trains across the platform for the Tseung Kwan O Line towards North Point. Whereas, staying on the train and reaching Tiu Keng Leng would allow them to board the Tseung Kwan O Line trains towards Po Lam/LOHAS Park. This design makes interchanging more convenient and passengers do not have the need to change to different levels. However this interchange arrangement is not available for all transferring passengers at Kowloon Tong, Central, Hong Kong, Nam Cheong (Except transfer between Tuen Mun and Hong Kong bound trains), Mei Foo, Tai Wai Station (Except alighting from Ma On Shan Line to change southbound trains for East Rail Line) and Sunny Bay (Except alighting from Tung Chung bound trains to Disneyland Resort Line) stations, mainly because this service is available only when there are two continuous stations shared as interchange stations by two lines.

Two major works were undertaken to facilitate interchange between Kwun Tong Line and East Rail Line. The modification of Kowloon Tong Station started in June 2001. A new pedestrian link to Kowloon Tong Station southern concourse and a new entrance (Exit D) were opened on 15 April 2004 to cope with the increase in interchange passenger flow.[10] Modification to Tsim Sha Tsui Station involved upgrading station facilities and concourse layout to facilitate access from the East Tsim Sha Tsui Station via its pedestrian links. New entrances to the subway links were opened on 19 September 2004 (Exit G) and 30 March 2005 (Exit F), with the whole scheme completed in May 2005.

Ma On Shan Line[change | edit source]

The Ma On Shan Line was constructed by the KCR to serve Ma On Shan and City One residential areas and operation of the line was outsourced to the MTR. The system mostly runs on a viaduct between the middle of roads with stations, stopping right next to major buildings. The only time the trains don't run on viaducts is when the railway meets the route 2 highway, where it runs in the middle and then raises back to a viaduct. The railway is slightly different from all other Hong Kong railways because the trains run on the right, not the left; this is so that passengers can easily interchange from the Ma On Shan line to the East Rail Line towards Hong Hum. The majority of passengers using the line get off the train at Tai Wai to interchange to the East Rail Line, using the line as a feeder route.

Disneyland extension[change | edit source]

A Disneyland Resort Line train waiting to depart

The Disneyland Resort Line, previously known as Penny's Bay Rail Link, provides service to the Hong Kong Disneyland Resort which was opened on 12 September 2005. Service to Sunny Bay station on the Tung Chung Line started in 2005. The new line and the Disneyland Resort station opened on 1 August 2005. It is a 3.5–kilometre single-track railway that runs between Sunny Bay station and Disneyland Resort station. The Disneyland Resort station itself was designed to blend in with the ambience of the resort. The line currently operates fully automated, trains running every four to ten minutes without a driver, and the carriages were changed from the existing M-Train rolling stock to match the recreational and adventurous nature of the 3.5-minute journey.[11]

Further expansion of the Airport Express[change | edit source]

The new AsiaWorld-Expo Station is an extension of the Airport Express serving the new international exhibition centre, known as the AsiaWorld-Expo at Hong Kong International Airport. The station opened on 20 December 2005 along with the exhibition centre. To cope with the projected increase in patronage, Airport Express trains have been expanded to utilise eight carriages from the previous seven. Additional trains will also be deployed on the Tung Chung line during major exhibitions and events.[12]

Maritime Square, one of the major properties financing the MTR

Privatisation and merger[change | edit source]

On 5 October 2000, the operator of the MTR network, MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL), became Hong Kong's first rail company to be privatised, marking the beginning of the Hong Kong government's initiative to dissolve its interests in public utilities. Prior to its listing on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) was wholly owned by the Hong Kong government. The offering involved the sale of about one billion shares, and the company now has the largest shareholder base of any company listed in Hong Kong. In June 2001, MTRCL was transferred to the Hang Seng Index.

MTRCL has often developed properties next to stations to complement its already profitable railway business. Many recently built stations were incorporated into large housing estates or shopping complexes. For example, Tsing Yi station is built next to the Maritime Square shopping centre and directly underneath the Tierra Verde housing estate.

On 11 April 2006, MTRCL signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding with the Hong Kong government, the owner of Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, to merge the operation of the two railway networks in Hong Kong in spite of the strong opposition by the KCRC staff.[13][14] The minority shareholders of the corporation approved the proposal at an extraordinary general meeting on 9 October 2007, allowing MTRCL to take over the operation of the KCR network and combine the fare system of the two networks on 2 December 2007.[15][16]

On 2 December 2007 the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) granted a 50-year service concession (which may be extended) of the KCR network to MTRCL, in return for making annual payments to KCRC, thereby merging the railway operations of the two corporations under MTRCL's management. At the same time MTRCL changed its Chinese name from "地鐵有限公司" (Subway Limited Company) to "香港鐵路有限公司" (Hong Kong Railway Limited Company), but left its English name unchanged. After the merger, the MTR network included three more lines, East Rail Line, West Rail Line and Ma On Shan Line, as well as the Light Rail network and Guangdong Through Train to Guangzhou.

On 28 September 2008, fare zones of all commuter lines which is ex-KCR were merged. A passenger could travel on these networks with only one ticket, except where a transfer is made between Tsim Sha Tsui and East Tsim Sha Tsui stations, where two tickets are required. Student discounts on Octopus Card were also issued.

Safety on the MTR[change | edit source]

Platform screen doors on the Kwun Tong Line at Tiu Keng Leng.

Various campaigns and activities are taken to help ensure that the MTR is a safe system to travel on. Poster campaigns displaying information on topics such as escalator safety are a common sight in all MTR stations, and announcements are made regularly as safety reminders to travelling passengers.

Bylaws have been recently introduced to deter potentially dangerous actions on the MTR, such as the ban of flammable goods on the MTR and rushing into trains when the doors are closing. Penalties ranging from fines to imprisonment have been imposed for such offenses.[17] Metallic balloons are also banned due to previous incidents on KCR and on MTR's Island Line where a metallic balloon interfered with the operation of the overhead power lines.

Police officers patrol on trains and stations, and police posts are available at some stations. The Hong Kong Police Force has a Railway District responsible for the MTR and the KCR. Closed-circuit television cameras are installed in stations.[18]

Tung Chung Line, the Airport Express and Tseung Kwan O Line, except Quarry Bay station, had platform screen doors (PSDs) installed upon construction. These doors prevent people from falling onto the rails, and MTRC allowed the assumption that this implementation was primarily a safety campaign, without heavily promoting it directly. In fact, the primary motivation was to separate the stations from the tunnels, hence allowing substantial energy savings on station air-conditioning and tunnel ventilation.[19] Automatic platform gates (APGs) have also been installed at the Sunny Bay and Disneyland Resort stations. Their heights are half of the PSDs and only prevent people from falling onto the rails.

In June 2000, The MTR Corporation proceeded with its plans to retrofit 2,960 pairs of platform screen doors at all 30 underground stations on the Kwun Tong Line, Tsuen Wan Line, and Island Line in a six year programme. The programme made MTR the world's first railway to undertake the retrofitting of PSDs on a passenger-carrying system already in operation. A prototype design was first introduced at Choi Hung station in the 3rd quarter of 2001. HK$0.10 per passenger trip was levied on Octopus card users to help fund the HK$2 billion retrofit programme. The whole installation scheme was completed in October 2005. The original completion year was 2006. The MTR Corporation said that part of the cost had to be assumed by passengers.[20]

Station facilities, amenities and services[change | edit source]

Easy access facilities on a MTR station, elevator and extra wide entry and exit gates.
Maxim's Cakes are a common sight in MTR Shops.
Hong Kong station on the Airport Express at IFC. Flight passengers can check-in here.

With the high level of daily passenger traffic, facilities of MTR stations are built with durability and accessibility in mind. The elevators and escalators in stations are heavy duty, with the elevators installed by Otis Elevator Company/Fujitec and the escalators installed by Constructions Industrielles de la Mediterranée and Otis Elevator Company.

After extensive retrofits, the MTR system has become, in general, disabled-friendly — the trains have dedicated wheelchair space, the stations have special floor tiles to guide the blind safely on the platforms, and there are extra wide entry and exit gates for wheelchairs as well.

Unlike many other metro systems around the world, "main line" MTR stations do not have toilet facilities, although their installation has been contemplated. Only stations on the Airport Express and Disneyland Resort Line have access to toilet facilities.

Interchange stations[change | edit source]

The MTR network is unique in its arrangement of interchange stations. Interchange stations between the Island, Tsuen Wan, Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O lines are arranged in pairs; such an arrangement allows cross-platform interchange wherein a passenger leaves a train on one side of the platform and boards trains on the other side of the platform for another line.

Most of those stations make use of a cross-platform interchange system, where the commuter can change to another line on the opposite platform. For example, when a person is travelling on the Kwun Tong Line towards Tiu Keng Leng, getting off at Yau Tong would allow him to change trains across the platform for the Tseung Kwan O Line towards North Point. Whereas, staying on the train and reaching Tiu Keng Leng would allow you to change trains for the Tseung Kwan O Line towards Po Lam.

This not only makes it more convenient for passengers, it also reduces the amount of traffic per station. Riders are made aware of the closest connection point by way of in-train visual and auditory messages. Although riders can disregard these tips, the design of the stations are for the convenience of passengers.

Telecommunications network coverage[change | edit source]

A full GSM (GSM-900 and GSM-1800), CDMA and TDMA mobile phone network is in place throughout the MTR system of stations and tunnels. Passengers can stay connected underground.

Currently, full 3G network coverage in all stations and tunnels (except West Rail Line) for the MTR system has been provided by 3 Hong Kong, SmarTone-Vodafone and PCCW Mobile. Passengers with subscription services will be able to make video calls and access high speed video content on their mobile phones regardless whether the train is above ground or under ground.[21]

Shops and other services[change | edit source]

Until recently, MTR stations only had branches of the Hang Seng Bank and Maxim's Cakes stores, owned by Jardine Matheson, and a handful of other shops. Since the privatisation of the MTR, however, numerous shops have been added to certain stations, turning them into miniature shopping centres. Services available at most stations include:

Apart from retailers, there are also dentists and medical clinics, drycleaners, and florists along the Tseung Kwan O Line. Standard services include payphones, vending machines (Coca-Cola only), and self-service photo-booths.

Free magazines and newspapers[change | edit source]

Recruit was the first free magazine which was solely distributed in MTR stations since July 1992. However, in July 2002, the contract between the magazine and MTR was terminated. Another recruitment magazine Jiu Jik (招職), published by South China Morning Post, replaced Recruit as the only free recruitment magazine distributed in MTR stations on every Tuesdays and Fridays.

At the same time, there was another entertainment magazine Hui Kai Guide (去街 Guide). However, it is no longer distributed in MTR stations since 2006.

The Metropolis Daily (都市日報), published by Metro International, is the first free newspaper distributed free in MTR stations from Monday to Friday (except public holidays); and in 2005, there is another weekend newspaper Express Post (快線周報), distributed every Saturday except public holidays.

The Metropop (都市流行), also published by Metro International, started its distribution in MTR stations every Thursdays since April 27 2006, few months after the termination of Hui Kai Guide. It is a weekly magazine featuring cultural affairs and city trends.

Extra services for Airport Express[change | edit source]

The Airport Express also offer value-added services to travellers on the line. Toilets and check-in facilities are available at every station on the line. A free Airport Express shuttle bus service transports travellers from stations to their respective hotels as well. Flight passengers can even have in-town check-in at the station, which offers a more convenient and time-saving routine.[22]

Fares and tickets[change | edit source]

As of January 2005, there are two different fare classes on the MTR: Adult and concessionary. Only children below the age of 12, senior citizens 65 years or older, or full-time Hong Kong students between the ages of 12 and 25 qualify for the concessionary rate. Children below the age of 3 travel free.

Similar to some other metro systems in the world, the fare payable by a passenger depends on the approximate distance travelled. However, taking any particular station as the origin, the other stations fall into fare "zones" depending on the distance from the origin. The fare to all stations in a "zone" is the same and increases with distance, especially if the journey involves a harbour crossing. Adult fares range from HK$3.80 to $26.00. Concessionary fares are usually half the adult fare, and range from HK$2.40 to $13.00. Fares for the Airport Express Line are significantly higher.

The price of using MTR is very low. For example, the price of going from Tsing Yi to Causeway Bay by taxi is around HK$200. Travelling the same distance by MTR costs HK$11.80 for grown up people and HK$5.40 for young and very old people.[23] People can buy a one way ticket or a Octopus card to enter MTR. Octopus card is a contact-less smart card.

Octopus cards[change | edit source]

The Octopus card is a rechargeable contactless smart card used in an electronic payment system in Hong Kong. It was launched in September 1997 for use on both the MTR and the KCR and now is the most widely used electronic cash system for transactions in Hong Kong as many retailers are fitted with readers.[24]

The Octopus card uses radio frequency identification (RFID) technology so that users need only hold the card in front of the reader. Physical contact is not required, and the card need not even be taken out because the reader can penetrate through material. This fare collection system has been so popular that many cities such as Singapore, London, Chicago, and Taipei have adopted the idea, launching their own version of smart cards, respectively named EZ-link, Oyster card, and EasyCard.

Except for the Airport Express, MTR fares are slightly lower when using an Octopus card compared to using single journey tickets. For example, the cost of the 3-minute journey from Admiralty to Tsim Sha Tsui across the Victoria Harbour is (as of 2005) HK$7.9 using the Octopus card, compared with HK$9.0 for a single-journey ticket.[23]

Tourist pass[change | edit source]

Two types of tourist passes are available: one allows unlimited rides for a single day (at HK$50), while the other allows three days of unlimited rides on the MTR, with a stored value of HK$20, refundable deposit of HK$50 and choice of either a single (HK$220) or return (HK$300) trip on the Airport Express.

Tourists are required to produce proof of tourist status, (e.g. passports or, in the case of Mainland travellers, entry permits) when purchasing the pass, and whenever requested by a ticket inspector during spot-checks.[25]

Other fares[change | edit source]

The magnetic fare card system is used for single journey tickets. These tickets are pre-paid for between pre-determined stations, and are good for only one trip. There are no return tickets, except on the Airport Express.

Fares for the Airport Express are substantially different from main line fares. Apart from single tickets, same-day return tickets (same price as a single), and one-month return tickets are also available.

A one-day pass can be used to unlimited travel to/from Hong Kong Disneyland within the same day, and costs HK$50. This pass can be purchased from any MTR Customer Service Centres or Airport Express Customer Service Centres.[11]

MTR rolling stock[change | edit source]

Interior of the refurbished M-Train, the oldest trains on the MTR.
A train approaching City One Station,Ma On Shan Line

Four variations of rolling stock operate on the MTR on 1.5kV DC overhead electrification. All trains are electric multiple units (EMUs), equipped with ATC and ATP, operating on 1432 mm rail gauge. Except for the rolling stock of the Airport Express, all trains are designed with features to cope with high density passenger traffic on stopping services. Examples are the latitudinal seating arrangement, additional ventilation fans and 5 doors on each side per car.

The Tung Chung Line and the Airport Express use dedicated rolling stock designs specified to their respective lines. Initially run in 7-car formations, they have now been lengthened to eight cars. These two variations are built jointly by Adtranz (now Bombardier Transportations) and Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles between 1994–97.[26]

The other lines are operated using a mixture of the other two variations, known as the "M-Train" and the "K-Stock". The "M-Stock" (or CM-Stock") of "M-Train" are the oldest trains on the MTR, built originally by Metro Cammell (now Alstom)[27] and refurbished by United Goninan.[28] The "M-Train" is the only variation that uses sliding doors, as opposed to others which use plug-doors. The "K-Stock" are built jointly by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and ROTEM,[29] and a further order of 32 cars is due to be in service on the Tung Chung Line by 2007.[30][31]

The Disneyland Resort Line uses driverless "M-Trains" with their appearance overhauled to suit the atmosphere and theme of the line.[26] Windows on each carriage and the handrails inside are made into the shape of Mickey Mouse's head, and there are bronze-made Disney characters decorating the interior of the carriages.

Art promotion[change | edit source]

A stage for live art performances in the "arttube", a subway connecting Hong Kong Station and Central Station .

With the objective "not only bring MTR passengers more time for life, but also more time for art", the "Art in MTR" Initiative has been a success since its reception in 1998, where the Airport Express Artwork Programme was the pioneer project. Thereafter, live performances, art exhibitions, display of artwork by established and emerging artists, students and young children have been brought into the MTR stations. MTR Corporation Limited have even made art part of the station architecture when building new stations or renovating existing ones. Artworks are exhibited in different forms on the network, including "arttube", open art gallery, community art galleries, roving art, living art, and art in station architecture.[32]

By incorporating elements of art into the railway network, the travelling environment for the passengers is not only enhanced, but also makes their journeys even more pleasant and enjoyable. Moreover, with MTR stations being an integral part of the neighbourhood, the programme also provides opportunities to promote Hong Kong's community art, encourage art appreciation among the public and give residents a feeling of home at the stations.

The future[change | edit source]

What MTR might look like if it took over the KCR network.

MTR Corporation Limited has suggested several future projects to the Hong Kong Government, with some already being built. The network is also set to grow quite much when MTR Corporation Limited joins with the government-owned Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), with the non-binding "Memorandum of Understanding" agreement signed on 11 April 2006 to give MTR Corporation control of the KCR network for 50 years. The new Sha Tin to Central Link that was first given to KCRC would now also be run by MTR Corporation Limited, which will run from Tai Wai Station in Tai Wai to Central.[13][14]

It has also been suggested to improve parts of MTR that are running now. Airport Station on the Airport Express will have a new platform to serve passengers flying out of Hong Kong International Airport's Skyplaza. New subway links to the stations are also being made, and it has been proposed to lengthen the Tseung Kwan O Line with a branch line to Tseung Kwan O South, and the Kwun Tong Line as far as Whampoa Garden, also linking with the Sha Tin to Central Link expansion.[12]

The West Island Line and South Island Line, first suggested to the government by MTR on 21 January 2003, was finally accepted on 30 June 2005. It was made up of the West Island Line that took the Island Line to Kennedy Town, and the South Island Line (East section) from Admiralty to Ap Lei Chau and South Island Line (West section) that connects the other two lines. This is being talked about now and the whole longer line should be finished and running by 2012.[33]

References[change | edit source]

  1. "Mass Transit Railway", Transport Department (Hong Kong Government), retrieved 16 March 2006
  2. "MTR Patronage Figures for February 2006", MTR Corporation Limited, retrieved 16 March 2006
  3. 3.0 3.1 Freeman, Fox, Wilbur Smith & Associates (1967), Hong Kong Mass Transport Study, as shown in map above mentioned.
  4. Freeman, Fox, Wilbur Smith & Associates (1970), Hong Kong Mass Transport Further Study.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 "The History", Hong Kong Mass Transit InfoCenter, retrieved 19 March 2006
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