Rail transport in Hong Kong

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Hong Kong's rail network mainly comprises public transport trains operated by the MTR Corporation Limited (MTRC). The MTRC operates the metro network of Hong Kong and the commuter rail network connecting the northeastern and northwestern New Territories to the urban area. The operations of the territory's two leading railway companies, MTRC and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), were merged in 2007 on grounds of economies of scale and cost effectiveness. The Hong Kong Government has an explicit stated transport policy of using the railway as its transport backbone.[1]

In addition to the MTR network, there are several smaller railways run by different operators, including the Peak Tram and the Hong Kong Tramways.


The first mode of rail transport was the Peak Tram, serving The Peak, the Mid-levels and the city centre since 1888. Tram started service along the northern coast of the Hong Kong Island in 1904. The British Section of the Kowloon-Canton Railway (now the KCR East Rail), a conventional railway, was opened in 1910. It was not until 1979 that a rapid transit system, the MTR, was opened. In 1982, the British Section of the Kowloon-Canton Railway began its transition towards electrification, changing it into a commuter rail, and eventually providing rapid transit-like service. The Light Rail Transit (LRT, now the MTR Light Rail) began its operation in the Tuen Mun and Yuen Long new towns in 1988. The two railway companies, MTR Corporation Limited and Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, merged on 2 December 2007, to form a single rapid transit network.

There are several extensions planned or under construction, including the Sha Tin to Central Link and the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong High Speed Railway.


Causeway Bay MTR station on the Island Line.
Main article: MTR

The MTR network comprises 10 lines, 89 railway stations and 68 Light Rail stops:

This system makes about $2 billion in profit in 2014 which is mainly generated from its property holding and development business.[2] Its portfolio include two of the city's tallest skyscrapers.[2]


Hong Kong Tramways map

Note that the MTRC Light Rail system (see above) has many of the attributes of a tramway, including street running.

Cross-border services[edit]

Commonly known as Through Train (chi. 直通車), the MTRC and railway companies of mainland China jointly provide cross-border train services from Hung Hom Station, Kowloon, sharing most of the tracks with the East Rail Line, to destinations in mainland China through neighbouring Shenzhen on three Through Train routes, namely Beijing line (to/from Beijing), Shanghai line (to/from Shanghai) and Guangdong line (to/from Zhaoqing and Guangzhou East). They are operated through the rail network in mainland China, including the Guangshen Railway and Jingguang Railway.

Automated People Mover[edit]

There is an Automated People Mover (APM),[3] a driverless electric train service, which is located at the basement level of Terminal 1 of Hong Kong International Airport. It travels the length of the 750-metre concourse between the East Hall and West Hall on a circular mode. Running at a speed of 62 km per hour, each APM carries 304 passengers in four cars. The APM operates every 2.5 minutes from 0600 to 0030 hours every day. It transports passengers whose flights are located at the West Hall, Southwest and Northwest concourses.

Rail gauges and power supply[edit]

Rail gauges and power supply of Hong Kong rails.

Rail Rail gauge Power supply Remarks Signal system Height of platform (mm) Maximum car width (mm) Height clearance Height of overhead cable
MTR      Island Line,      South Island Line,      Kwun Tong Line,     Tseung Kwan O Line,     Tsuen Wan Line,     Tung Chung Line,      Airport Express 1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in)
(Narrow gauge)
1500 V DC [1] overhead cable SACEM and SACEM-SICAS for TKL, all lines to be upgraded to SelTrac in the 2020s 3200
MTR      Disneyland Resort Line 1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in)
(Narrow gauge)
1500 V DC [2] overhead cable SelTrac CBTC/R UTO 3200
MTR      East Rail Line,      West Rail Line,      Ma On Shan Line (formerly operated by KCR/KCRC) 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
(Standard gauge)
25 kV AC overhead cable same as railways in mainland China      East Rail Line GEC-Alsthom TBL,Will be Resignal by Siemens Trainguard MT CBTC
     West Rail Line,      Ma On Shan Line SelTrac CBTC DTO
MTR      Light Rail (formerly operated by KCR/KCRC) 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
(Standard gauge)
750 V DC overhead cable Siemens Trainguard IMU 100 910 2650 Safety Height 5.3m
Peak Tram 1,520 mm (4 ft 11 2732 in)
(Russian gauge)
n/a n/a Funicular
Hong Kong Tramways 3 ft 6 in (1,067 mm) 550 V DC overhead cable
Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover 3-phase 600V a.c. Third Rail SelTrac
Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad steam-outline
Ocean Park Ocean Express Funicular

List of densely populated places without rail transport[edit]

MTR route map[edit]

MTR System Map with effect from 28 December 2016

Ended systems[edit]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]