MTR Corporation

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MTR Corporation Limited
FormerlyMass Transit Railway Corporation (1972–2000)
TypePublic; Government-owned corporation
  • Transport
  • Property
Founded22 September 1972; 49 years ago (1972-09-22)
33 Wai Yip Street, Kowloon Bay, New Kowloon, Hong Kong
Area served
Worldwide, including:
Key people
RevenueHK$55.4 billion (December 2017)[1]
HK$10.5 billion (December 2017)
Total assetsHK$263.768 billion (December 2017)
Number of employees
28,053 (June 2017)
MTR Corporation
Traditional Chinese香港鐵路有限公司
Simplified Chinese香港铁路有限公司
Literal meaningHong Kong Railway Corporation Limited

MTR Corporation Limited is a majority government-owned Hong Kong company listed on the Hong Kong Exchange and the OTC Markets Pink Sheets, and a component of Hang Seng Index. The MTR Corporation runs Hong Kong's rapid transit system of the same name, and is also a major property developer and landlord in Hong Kong. The MTR additionally invests in railways across different parts of the world, including franchised contracts to operate rapid transit systems in London, Sweden (Stockholm Metro and the MTRX Stockholm-Gothenburg rail link), Beijing, Hangzhou, Macau, Shenzhen, Sydney, and a suburban rail system in Melbourne.


The Mass Transit Railway Corporation (Chinese: 地下鐵路公司) was established on 22 September 1972 as a government-owned statutory corporation to build and operate a mass transit railway system to meet Hong Kong's public transport needs. On 30 June 2000, the MTRC was succeeded by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL, 地下鐵路有限公司). As with the MTRC, the MTRCL's principal business is to operate the mass transit railway system. Following a successful initial public offering, the MTRCL was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange on 5 October 2000, however the government is still the majority stakeholder in the MTRCL.

Partial privatisation[edit]

On 11 September 2000, the financial secretary of the Hong Kong government, Donald Tsang, announced the partial privatisation of MTR Corporation Limited.[2] The offering was for one billion shares, but this was increased to 1.15 billion due to high demand.[3] On 5 October 2000, the company was listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange with 600,000 shareholders. In June 2001, MTR was added to the Hang Seng Index.

At the time of the initial public offering, the company was operating with a surplus of HK$360 million (US$46.1 million), which had increased from a surplus of HK$278 million (US$35.6 million) in 1997. The MTR has continued to be one of the few profitable public transport systems in the world.[4]

MTR-KCR merger[edit]

Railway network after merger
Ticket gates at key interchange stations have been removed one year after the merger

There had been some discussion of merging the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), which was also government-owned, and the MTR to make the territory's transport system more efficient. The MTRCL backed such a merger while the KCRC opposed the plan. In March 2004, the Hong Kong government officially encouraged the two companies to merge.

On 11 April 2006, the Hong Kong government officially announced the details of the proposed merger. Under the non-binding Memorandum of Understanding the government has signed with KCRC, KCRC would grant a service concession to the MTRCL to operate the Kowloon–Canton Railway (KCR) system, with an initial period of 50 years. The KCRC would receive a one-time upfront payment of HK$4.25 billion, a fixed annual payment of HK$750 million and a variable annual payment based on revenues generated from operation of the KCR system. In addition, MTRCL would make a payment of $7.79 billion for the acquisition of property and other related commercial interests.[5]

The KCRC's lines were less profitable than those of the MTRC, and the KCRC was less active in property development. It was widely considered that the government's choice was to avoid being criticised for selling assets of the KCRC, which it wholly owned, to MTRCL for an unreasonably low price. Leasing the operation rights of the KCR system to the MTRCL avoided actually selling the KCRC.[citation needed]

On 2 December 2007, the Chinese name of the MTRCL was changed to 香港鐵路有限公司[6] (literal translation: Hong Kong Railway Corporation Limited) after being granted the Service Concession while the English name will remain unchanged.[7][8] The KCRC is now a holding company of the KCR system, without actual railway operations. The merger was approved by shareholders of the MTRCL on 9 October 2007. The merger is effective for 50 years. This also resulted in changing the system's Chinese name from "地鐵" ("Subway") to "港鐵" "(Hong Kong Railway").

All adult Octopus Card holders would be the first to benefit from the merger.[9] Student and concessionary Octopus holders would also benefit from the merger by further reducing $0.1 from their 50% off fares.[10] Student Octopus holders would continue to pay the current reduced concessionary fares on the MTR network. Elderly Octopus holders would be introduced to a new fare system which only the elderly can enjoy a $2 fare to anywhere on the MTR network (excluding Airport Express, Light Rail, and Cross-Boundary Stations).[11]

Revenue model[edit]

In July 2021, Liber Research Community, an NGO, produced a report which detailed the history of MTR's revenue model.[12] In it, it reported that the "Rail + Property" development model was originally formed to offset unexpected financial difficulties with creating the original MTR lines, with original estimates that MTR's property would account for approximately 20 per cent of its total revenue.[12]

The Executive Council also determined that since MTR had to apply for land grants from the government, it was the government's decision on how land above MTR stations should be allocated, stating "the grant of comprehensive development rights on land affected by railway installations will be discretionary".[12] Land above stations would not necessarily be used to build private housing to maximize MTR's revenue, but could be used to solve issues of housing in Hong Kong, such as by developing public housing instead.[12] The Executive Council also noted that "revenue from property development was not originally envisaged as being used as a means of financing the capital cost of the railway itself" and that revenue from property development was to be used for a "contingency reserve", such as for offsetting excessive construction costs.[12]

The report noted that 40 per cent of MTR's revenue is currently from property, and that the original intent of using property revenue for contingency purposes had shifted into a different, unsustainable model where property is used to subsidise operations and construction of new stations.[12]

Senior leadership[edit]

  • Chairman: Rex Au-yeung (since July 2019)
  • Chief Executive: Jacob Kam (since April 2019)

List of former chairmen[edit]

  1. Sir Philip Haddon-Cave (1972–1974); project manager
  2. Sir Norman Thompson (1974–1983); first official Chairman
  3. Sir Wilfrid Newton (1983–1989)
  4. Hamish Mathers (1989–1995)
  5. Jack So (1995–2003)
  6. Raymond Ch'ien (2003–2015)
  7. Frederick Ma (2016–2019)

List of former chief executives[edit]

The position of Chief Executive was created in 1995.

  1. Jack So (1995–2003)
  2. Sir Chow Chung-kong (2003–2011)
  3. Jay Walder (2012–2014)
  4. Lincoln Leong (2015–2019)

Operations by market[edit]

Hong Kong[edit]

World Wide House, built by the MTR Corporation Limited.

MTR Corporation is responsible for the operation of MTR (and the Kowloon–Canton Railway since 2 December 2007). The rail lines are profitable, but the MTR Corporation derives most of its profits from property development (usually adjacent to railway stations) and other commercial activities in Hong Kong, including the letting of retail and poster advertising space, ATM banking facilities, and personal telecommunication services.

Rail services[edit]

Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong. Originally opened in 1979, the system currently (at August 2018) includes 221 km (137 mi) of rail with 159 stations, including 91 railway stations and 68 light rail stops.[13] There are also several future projects of the MTR.

Property management[edit]

Property is one of the main businesses of the MTR generating most of the profits. In 2009 of a net profit of HK$7.3 billion, MTR made HK$3.55 billion from property and HK$2.12 billion from transport operations.[14] The MTR tries to develop suitable sites related to their new railway projects and their existing railway. For instance, the reclaimed land situated in West Kowloon that is owned by the MTR will be developed into an area with residential, office and retail space. Two of Hong Kong's largest banks, HSBC and the Bank of China are to have office towers there. Furthermore, will be more than 7,000 housing units in the development. The MTR also owns several shopping centres, as well as the International Finance Centre.

Shopping centres[edit]

The MTR Corporation invested heavily to develop large shopping centres around MTR stations. The most recent example is the PopCorn mall located at Tseung Kwan O station. It is connected to the adjacent malls, high-end housing and hotels. Another example of such a shopping centre is Maritime Square (青衣城) located at Tsing Yi station. Maritime Square is a nautical-themed mall in which there are supermarkets, boutiques, bookstores, a cinema, and restaurants. Since Tsing Yi station serves as the transportation hub for Tsing Yi, Maritime Square is also easily accessible by other transportation means including buses and taxis. Other shopping centres developed and managed by the corporation include CityLink, Elements, Hanford Plaza, Ocean Walk, Paradise Mall, Plaza Ascot, Sun Tuen Mun Shopping Centre, Telford Plaza, The Lane, the LOHAS, and Luk Yeung Galleria.

United Kingdom[edit]

MTR Crossrail logo

Current operations[edit]

Former operations[edit]

Unsuccessful or withdrawn bids[edit]


MTR Nordic AB is a subsidiary of MTR Corporation UK based in Stockholm[33] that operates in the public transportation sector through four subsidiaries. The CEO of MTR Nordic is Henrik Dahlin.[34]

  • MTR Tunnelbanan AB (known as MTR Stockholm AB until June 2016) is responsible for the operation, planning and maintenance of the Stockholm Metro. In January 2009, Tunnelbanan Teknik Stockholm, a 50/50 joint venture between MTR and Mantena, was awarded the contract from Storstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL) to operate the network for eight years with an option to extend for another six years. MTR started operating the metro on 2 November 2009,[35][36] and in September 2015 the six-year extension was granted.[37] In January 2016, MTR bought out its joint venture partner.[38][39] The division has approximately 3,000 employees[40] with Caroline Åstrand as its CEO.[41]
  • MTR Tech AB, formerly Tunnelbanan Teknik Stockholm AB (TBT), carries out maintenance of the Stockholm Metro rolling stock. Its CEO is Erika Enestad.
  • MTR Express (Sweden) AB operates long-distance trains between Stockholm and Gothenburg with its own ticket sales using the brand name MTR Express.[42][43] The service, operational since 21 March 2015, uses six X74 (Stadler Flirt) electric multiple units travelling at up to 200 km/h.[44] The division has 90 employees based in both Stockholm and Gothenburg, led by CEO Joakim Sundh.[45][46]
  • MTR Pendeltågen AB has been the operator of Stockholm commuter rail network since 11 December 2016. In December 2015, the Traffic Commission in the Stockholm County Council decided that MTR would take overall responsibility for the network, trains, and stations[47] in a contract for 10 years, with an option to extend for another four years.[48] SJ requested a review of the decision, but it was rejected by the Stockholm Administrative Court.[49] MTR took over the service from the previous operator Stockholmståg. MTR Pendeltågen AB CEO is Mats Johannesson.


In June 2009, the Metro Trains Melbourne consortium of MTR (60%), John Holland and United Rail (20% each) were selected to operate the Melbourne suburban railway network, taking over from Connex Melbourne on 30 November 2009.[50] In September 2016, the government opened negotiations with Metro Trains Melbourne to extend the contract for seven years until November 2024.[51][52]

In June 2014, Northwest Rapid Transit, a consortium consisting of MTR (60%), John Holland Group, Leighton Contractors, Plenary Group and UGL Rail, was selected to deliver the Sydney Metro Northwest operations contract.[53][54] As part of the consortium, MTR Corporation, John Holland and UGL Rail formed the Metro Trains Sydney joint venture to operate services on the line for 15 years. The North West Rail Link opened in May 2019.[55]

China Mainland[edit]

Beijing MTR Corporation Limited
Hangzhou MTR Corporation Limited
MTR Corporation (Shenzhen) Limited
TypePublic company
IndustryTransport, property
FoundedBeijing (16 January 2006 (2006-01-16))
Hangzhou (6 September 2012 (2012-09-06))
Shenzhen (1 July 2010 (2010-07-01))
(Beijing, Hangzhou, & Shenzhen)
Area served
Beijing, Hangzhou, Shenzhen
WebsiteBeijing MTR
Hangzhou MTR
MTR (Shenzhen)


The company has also formed a joint-venture Beijing MTR Corporation Limited (49%) with Beijing Capital Group ("BCG") (49%) and the Beijing Infrastructure Investment Co ("BIIC") (2%) to build and operate for 30 years Line 4, Daxing line, Line 14, and Line 16[56] of the Beijing Subway. Line 17, which is currently under construction, is also confirmed to be operated by the Beijing MTR Corporation Limited.[57]


The company formed a new joint-venture Hangzhou MTR with Hangzhou Metro Group in 2012 to operate Line 1 of the Hangzhou Metro for 28 years, in which MTR holds 49% of the stock, while Hangzhou Metro Group holds the other 51% of the stock. Line 5 of the Hangzhou Metro is operated by Hangzhou MTR Line 5 Ltd, which MTR holds 60% of the stock.


The company concluded initials concession agreement to build phase 2 of the Line 4 of the Shenzhen Metro, and to operate the whole line on a BOT basis for 30 years from 1 July 2010. The phase 2 of Line 4 have been in operation for passengers since 16 June 2011. Line 13, which is currently under construction, is also confirmed to be operated by MTR Corporation (Shenzhen).[58]


MTR Railway Operations (Macau)
 Company Limited
TypePublic company
Founded11 April 2018 (2018-04-11)
Area served
WebsiteMTR (Macau)

MTR Railway Operations (Macau) Company Limited, a wholly owned subsidiary of MTR Corporation, operates the Taipa Line of the Macau Light Rapid Transit (MLRT or MLM) in Macau since the line's opening on 10 December 2019. MTR will operate and maintain the line for 80 months.[59]


  1. ^ 2017 Financial Highlights MTR Annual Report 2017, Retrieved 2018-05-24
  2. ^ "MTR Privatisation Share Offer (NOT for distribution outside Hong Kong)" (Press release). Hong Kong SAR Government. 11 September 2000. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Executive Management's Report – Business Overview" (PDF). Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  4. ^ "How Hong Kong's subway turns a $2 billion annual profit". CNN. 30 March 2015. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  5. ^ "Press Release: Government has reached understanding with MTRCL on the terms for merging the MTR and KCR systems". Hong Kong SAR Government. 11 April 2006. Retrieved 17 November 2007.
  6. ^ "Rail Merger Bill" (PDF). Legislation Council of the Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved 8 November 2007.
  7. ^ "Appointments announced for post-merger MTR Corporation Limited" (Press release). Hong Kong Government. 8 August 2007. Retrieved 10 November 2007. (Comparing with the Chinese version)
  8. ^ "Rail Merger Bill to be introduced into Legco (English name remain MTR)" (Press release). Hong Kong Government. 8 June 2006. Retrieved 15 November 2007. (Comparing with the Chinese version Archived 9 September 2009 at the Wayback Machine)
  9. ^ Railway Merger Proposal in Hong Kong Gets Green Light, Hong Kong Economic and Trade Office in United States.
  10. ^ Fact Sheet (Eng), Merger of the MTR and KCR systems.
  11. ^ Elders ride on the MTR on Sundays and public holidays for just $2 for the whole journey.
  12. ^ a b c d e f lrcresearcher. "還原「物業帶動鐵路」的歷史時空". Liber Research Community (in Chinese). Retrieved 4 August 2021.
  13. ^ "MTR Railway Network". MTR. Retrieved 3 August 2018.
  14. ^ Ng, Jeffery (9 March 2010). "MTR Posts 16% Rise in Profit, Plans to Offer 5,000 Apartments". The Wall Street Journal.
  15. ^ "MTR selected to operate Crossrail services". Railway Gazette International. 18 July 2014.
  16. ^ FirstGroup and MTR welcome South Western rail franchise award Archived 26 June 2018 at the Wayback Machine London Stock Exchange 27 March 2017
  17. ^ "MTR Laing wins London Overground" Railway Gazette International July 2007 page 408
  18. ^ Four bidders shortlisted for London Overground operating concesssion Railway Gazette International 29 June 2015
  19. ^ TfL announces Overground Shortlist Railnews 30 June 2015
  20. ^ Arriva wins £1.5bn London Overground contract BBC News 18 March 2016
  21. ^ Transport for London announces intention to award London Overground contract to Arriva Arriva 18 March 2016
  22. ^ "GNER joins Hong Kong's MTR to bid for new Kent rail franchise" Rail issue 502 8 December 2004 page 6
  23. ^ "MTR pulls out of West Midlands bid" The Railway Magazine issue 1269 January 2007 page 6
  24. ^ "Foreign bids for Metro contract". BBC News. 2 February 2009. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  25. ^ "ScotRail franchise shortlist named". BBC News. 1 November 2013. Retrieved 3 February 2009.
  26. ^ East Japan Railway on West Midlands franchise shortlist Railway Gazette International 7 April 2016
  27. ^ "MTR withdraws from West Midlands bidding"Modern Railways issue 815 August 2016 page 21
  28. ^ Wales & Borders bidders asked to propose Metro options Railway Gazette International 13 October 2016
  29. ^ West Coast Partnership and South Eastern rail franchise bidders Department for Transport 22 June 2017
  30. ^ Three shortlisted for West Coast Partnership franchise Railway Gazette International 22 June 2017
  31. ^ "MTR teams up with operator of Europe's largest high speed rail network for West Coast Partnership bid". MTR Europe. 20 December 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  32. ^ FirstGroup consortium to replace Virgin on west coast mainline Guardian 14 August 2019 FirstGroup consortium to replace Virgin on west coast mainline] Guardian 14 August 2019
  33. ^ "Contact us". MTR Nordic (in Swedish). Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  34. ^ "Henrik Dahlin ny vd för MTR Nordic AB". MTR Nordic (mynewsdesk) (in Swedish). 20 January 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  35. ^ "Hongkong-bolag vann t-banekontrakt värt 36 miljarder (Swedish)". Svenska Dagbladet. 20 January 2009.
  36. ^ "Hong Kong operator in Stockholm" The Railway Magazine issue 1296 April 2009 page 93
  37. ^ MTR's Stockholm metro contract extended Railway Gazette International 29 September 2015
  38. ^ MTR Brings Stockholm Metro Rolling Stock Maintenance Fully in House MTR 25 January 2016
  39. ^ MTR to take full ownership of Stockholm Metro in Sweden Rail Technology 27 January 2016
  40. ^ "Nya t-banechefens mål 99,7 procents punktlighet". DN.SE (in Swedish). 28 October 2009. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  41. ^ "Caroline Åstrand ny VD för MTR Tunnelbanan". MTR Nordic (mynewsdesk) (in Swedish). 16 January 2020. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  42. ^ Home MTR Express
  43. ^ MTR launches open access inter-city service Railway Gazette International 23 March 2015
  44. ^ MTR Express orders Flirts for Stockholm-Goteborg open access service Railway Gazette International 13 November 2013
  45. ^ "VD-byten inom MTR-koncernen – Mats Johannesson tar över vd-rollen på MTR Pendeltågen och Joakim Sundh blir ny vd på MTRX". MTR Nordic (mynewsdesk) (in Swedish). 21 January 2021. Retrieved 13 April 2021.
  46. ^ "MTR Express takes on SJ in Sweden". International Railway Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  47. ^ "MTR Gamma AB tar över pendeltågstrafiken". Stockholm Region (in Swedish). 8 December 2015. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  48. ^ MTR to operate Stockholm Pendeltåg Railway Gazette International 9 December 2015
  49. ^ "Pendeltågsupphandling inte i strid med upphandlingsreglerna". Förvaltningsrätten i Stockholm. 25 October 2016. Archived from the original on 25 October 2016. Retrieved 8 December 2019.
  50. ^ New train, tram operators for Melbourne The Age 25 June 2009
  51. ^ "Full steam ahead: Government offers Metro and Yarra Trams contract extensions" The Age 29 September 2016
  52. ^ Victorian government begins negotiations with Metro Trains Melbourne and Yarra Trams for new contracts Urbanlyst 2 October 2016
  53. ^ Major milestones reached on North West Rail Link as preferred operator selected Archived 6 October 2014 at the Wayback Machine, Transport for New South Wales, Retrieved 24 June 2014
  54. ^ Sydney Metro North West MTR
  55. ^ Project Overview Sydney Metro
  56. ^ website of Beijing MTR Corporation Limited Archived 6 January 2016 at the Wayback Machine
  57. ^ "确定了!北京地铁17号线,京港地铁公司运营". 30 December 2019.
  58. ^ "港铁咨询公司联合体中标深圳市轨道交通13号线公私合营项目". 3 August 2020.
  59. ^ "About Macao Light Rapid Transit (Macao LRT)". MTR Macau. Retrieved 11 December 2019.

External links[edit]

MTR Properties and MTR Property Management