Rail transport in Hong Kong

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 in Hong Kong 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 (later 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. Three years later, 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 in 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.


MTR Hong Kong station Causeway Bay
Causeway Bay MTR station on the Island Line.

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

High speed rail

CRH380A-0259@GZN (20180923095004)
High speed train to Hong Kong departing Guangzhou South Station
Hong Kong West Kowloon Station view 201810
West Kowloon Station in Hong Kong, adjacent to Austin Station

A high-speed rail link connects Hong Kong with Shenzhen and Guangzhou in mainland China. The Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link (sometimes abbreviated "XRL HK section") is a 26-km long stretch of high-speed rail that links Hong Kong to mainland China. The Hong Kong section opened for commercial service on 23 September 2018.[3] From West Kowloon Terminus, trains run through regional stations in Guandong Province, including Futian, Longhua (Shenzhen North), and Humen, to Guangzhou South Station and other cities in other provinces.[4][5]

With the completion of the rail link, the journey times have been reduced to 14 minutes between West Kowloon and Futian stations, 23 minutes between Hong Kong and Shenzhen North and 48 minutes between Hong Kong and Guangzhou South.[6] The service is a cooperation between the MTR Corporation and CR Guangzhou.

West Kowloon Station is served by both short-distance and long-haul train services. Short-distance services consist of a frequent service to mainland Chinese cities in neighbouring Guangdong province, including Shenzhen, Dongguan and Guangzhou, while long-distance services link Hong Kong to at least 16 major destinations in mainland China, including Beijing West, Shijiazhuang, Zhengzhou East, Wuhan, Changsha South and Shanghai Hongqiao.[7]

A new railway connecting Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Hong Kong was proposed in the late 1990s by the Government of Hong Kong. This Regional Express Railway (RER) proposal was developed in the 1994 “Railway Development Study” (RDS); it foresaw a continual growth of Hong Kong's population over the next two decades and strong demand for cross-border passenger traffic.[8] By 2002, the concept of “regional express” gained further development and the proposal was advanced to be a high-speed rail line.[9] Construction of the Hong Kong section began in 2010. Following delays and controversies,[10][11][12] West Kowloon station was formally opened on 4 September 2018 and high speed trains started to run on the rail link to destinations in Mainland China from 23 September 2018.[13]

Station Name
Station Name
Hong Kong West Kowloon 香港西九龍 / 香港西九龙 MTR Tung Chung Airport Express (via Kowloon)
MTR West Rail (via Austin)
Yau Tsim Mong, Hong Kong

Guangdong through train

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). The Through Train is a legacy of Hong Kong's first railway, the Kowloon-Canton Railway. It is operated through the rail network in mainland China, including the Guangshen railway and Jingguang railway.

Automated People Mover

There is an Automated People Mover (APM),[14] 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

Rail gauges and power supply of Hong Kong rails.

Rail Rail gauge Power supply Remarks Signal system Height of platform Width of widest car (mm) Loading gauge width (mm) Height of tallest car (mm) Height clearance Height of contact wire


MTR      Island line,      South Island line,      Kwun Tong line,      Tseung Kwan O line,      Tsuen Wan line (collectively Urban Lines except for South Island Line)[15] 1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in) (except for West Island Line, South Island Line, and Kwun Tong Line Extension)
(almost standard gauge)

1435 mm (West Island Line, South Island Line, and Kwun Tong Line Extension)

1500 V DC [1] overhead cable SACEM and SACEM-SICAS for TKL, all lines to be upgraded to SelTrac in the 2020s 1100 mm (43.3 in) 3118 3250 (with fixed platform gap filler) 3312 (without gap filler)

3940 (without platform)[16]

3700 (MTR Metro Cammell EMU (DC) without pantograph)

3910 (MTR Metro Cammell EMU (DC) with pantograph folded)

3755 mm (without pantograph)[16]

4100 mm (with pantograph folded)

(~4904 mm with pantograph folded in depots)

4200 mm (nominal and min., as built to same standards as Tung Chung Line and Airport Express);

(~5029 mm in depots)

MTR      Tung Chung line,      Airport Express (collectively known as Airport Railway) 1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in)

(almost standard gauge)

1500 V DC (nominal) [2]; 1520 ± 20 V DC (in practice)[17] overhead cable SACEM, all lines to be upgraded to SelTrac in the 2020s 1250 mm (49.2 in)[16] 3118 (MTR Rotem EMU) 3250 (with fixed platform gap filler) 3312 (without gap filler)

3940 (without platform)[16]

3700 (MTR Adtranz–CAF EMU without pantograph) 3755 mm (without pantograph)[16]

4100 mm (with pantograph folded)

(~4904 mm with pantograph folded in depots)

4200 mm (nominal and min.);

4224.78 mm (mean);

4230 mm (max. on running lines)[17](~5029 mm in depot)

MTR      Disneyland Resort line 1,432 mm (4 ft 8 38 in)

(almost standard gauge)

1500 V DC [3] overhead cable SelTrac CBTC/R UTO 1100 mm (43.3 in) 3096 3250 (with fixed platform gap filler) 3312 (without gap filler)

3940 (without platform)[16]

3700 (without pantograph)

3910 (with pantograph folded)

3755 mm (without pantograph)[16]

4100 mm (with pantograph folded)

(~4904 mm with pantograph folded in depots)

4200 mm (nominal and min., as built to same standards as Tung Chung Line and Airport Express);

(~5029 mm in depot)

(note: depot shared with Airport Railway)

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 electrical supply same standard 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
3 ft 6 in (1066.8mm)[18] 3220 (MTR Hyundai Rotem EMU) 3250 (with fixed platform gap filler) 3300 (without gap filler)

~3900 (without platform)


(Ktt Kinki Sharyo coach)[19]

16 ft 6 in (5029.2 mm) (with pantograph folded) 17 ft 4 in (5283.2 mm)[18] (nominal and minimum)
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 mm

(35.8 in)

2650 2670 5250 mm (with pantograph folded) 5300 mm (nominal and minimum)
Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link Hong Kong section 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
(Standard gauge)
25 kV AC overhead cable everything same standard as railways in mainland China 1250 mm (49.2 in) 3380 3400 5250 mm (with pantograph folded) 5300 mm[20] (nominal and minimum)
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 N/A 20 ft 8 in (6299.2 mm) (with trolley pole folded) (estimated) 21 ft (6400.8 mm) (estimated)
Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover N/A (Automated guideway transit) 3-phase 600 V AC Third Rail SelTrac
Hong Kong Disneyland Railroad 3 ft (914 mm) N/A N/A powered by three steam-shaped diesel locomotives
Ocean Park Ocean Express 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 12 in)
(Standard gauge)
N/A N/A Funicular

List of densely populated places without rail transport

MTR route map

Hong Kong Railway Route Map en
MTR System Map with effect from 28 December 2016

Former systems

See also


  1. ^ http://www.thb.gov.hk/eng/psp/publications/transport/publications/rds2014.pdf
  2. ^ a b Sigalos, MacKenzie. "How Hong Kong's subway turns a $2 billion annual profit". CNN Money. CNN. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  3. ^ "XRL to start operation on September 23". The Standard. 23 August 2018.
  4. ^ "Transport and Housing Bureau - Policy / Issues in Focus". www.thb.gov.hk.
  6. ^ "Key Information". Express Rail Link. MTR Corporation. Retrieved 11 August 2015.
  7. ^ "Frequency and Capacity". MTR Corporation. Retrieved 13 November 2010.
  8. ^ "立法会参考资料摘要:铁路发展策略" (PDF). Legislative Council of Hong Kong. 2000-05-16. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  9. ^ "广深港间拟建区域快线 可能采用磁悬浮列车". 新华网. 2002-02-01. Retrieved 2011-03-06.
  10. ^ "High speed rail link project delayed". RTHK. 16 April 2014.
  11. ^ "Severely damaged TBM to delay Hong Kong XRL". Tunnellingjournal.com. 16 April 2014.
  12. ^ Benjamin Haas (in Seoul) (4 September 2018). "Hong Kong cedes part of rail station to China in secretive ceremony". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  13. ^ "Mainland port area of cross-border express rail link terminus opens". Xinhua Net. 4 September 2018. Retrieved 4 September 2018.
  14. ^ Hong Kong Airport
  15. ^ MTR Urban Lines Vision Train
  16. ^ a b c d e f g "Redevelopment of Kowloon Station". HKU Scholars Hub.
  17. ^ a b Shing, Adrian (12 September 2012). "Predicting the Contact Wire Wear of a Railway System Using ANN". Rail Knowledge Bank. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  18. ^ a b "Under the Wires to Lo Wu". The Railway Magazine. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  19. ^ "MTR Corporation Hong Kong, China Passenger Car". Kinki Sharyo. Retrieved 1 March 2018.
  20. ^ Cheng, William (15 June 2014). "A Design Overview of Traction Power Supply System for the First High-speed Rail System in Hong Kong" (PDF). Electrical and Mechanical Services Department. Retrieved 28 February 2018.

External links

Anti-Hong Kong Express Rail Link movement

The anti-Hong Kong Express Rail Link movement (Chinese: 反高鐵運動; literally: 'anti-high-speed-rail movement') was a social movement and period of civil discontent in Hong Kong between mid-2009 and early 2010. Select groups of Hong Kong residents protested at the proposed Hong Kong section of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link (abbreviated "XRL"), a high-speed railway that would link Hong Kong with mainland China's growing high-speed rail network.

Beijing–Hong Kong high-speed train

The Beijing–Hong Kong high-speed train (simplified Chinese: 京港高速动车组列车; traditional Chinese: 京港高速動車組列車) is a high-speed train service operated by China Railway Guangzhou Group (CR Guangzhou) on Beijing–Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong HSR in China. Operated with G79/80 train numbers between Beijing West and Hong Kong West Kowloon on a daily basis, it is currently the fastest train service and the only high-speed train service between Beijing and Hong Kong, with an approximate travelling time of 9 hours.

Beijing–Kowloon through train

The Beijing–Kowloon through train (Chinese: 京九直通车; pinyin: jīng jiǔ zhítōng chē) is an intercity railway service between Hung Hom Station (formerly Kowloon Station until 1998) in Hong Kong and the Beijing West railway station, jointly operated by the MTR of Hong Kong and China Railway, China's national rail service. The train runs to Beijing and Hong Kong every other day. Services use the East Rail Line in Hong Kong, cross the boundary between Hong Kong and mainland China at Lo Wu and then continue along China's railway network via the Guangshen railway and the Jingguang railway to Beijing. Total journey time is approximately 23 hours, and the train uses 25T class train carriages.

From 28 December 2017, travelers of selected nationalities are able to utilize the 144-hour transit when traveling on this line to or from Beijing, providing that they clear immigration in Beijing.

Guangzhou–Kowloon through train

The Guangzhou–Kowloon through train (simplified Chinese: 广九直通车 or 港穗直通车; traditional Chinese: 廣九直通車 or 港穗直通車; pinyin: Guǎngjiǔ Zhítōngchē or Găngsuì Zhítōngchē) is an inter-city railway service between Hong Kong and Guangzhou jointly operated by the MTR Corporation of Hong Kong and the Guangzhou Railway Group of mainland China. Services operate along the East Rail Line within Hong Kong territory, crossing the Hong Kong-Chinese border at Lo Wu, and continuing along the Guangmao Railway and Guangshen Railway in Guangdong province.

Twelve trains run in each direction every day, with a journey time of 1 hour 40 minutes.The MTRC operates the KTT service on this route. The KTT service is provided by double decker trains, usually comprising two Premium Class carriages and five First Class carriages. A Chinese operator provides the other trains on this route.

Places served by the MTRC Guangzhou–Kowloon Through Train include:

Hong Kong

Dongguan (some trains)


Foshan (once daily)

Zhaoqing (once daily)

Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover

The Hong Kong International Airport Automated People Mover is a driverless people mover located within Hong Kong International Airport. It operates in two "segments" within Terminal 1 and Midfield Concourse, and between Terminals 1, Terminals 2, and also connects to the Skypier.

Kowloon–Canton Railway

The Kowloon–Canton Railway (KCR; Chinese: 九廣鐵路; Cantonese Yale: Gáugwóng Titlouh) is a railway network in Hong Kong. It is owned, and was operated by the Kowloon–Canton Railway Corporation until 2007. It provides rapid transit services, a light rail system and feeder bus routes within Hong Kong, and intercity passenger and freight train services to Mainland China.

While still owned by its previous operator, the Kowloon–Canton Railway Corporation (which is wholly owned by the Hong Kong Government), the network has been operated by the MTR Corporation under a 50-year, extendible, service concession since 2 December 2007. Steps have been taken to integrate the network into the same fare system as the MTR, and gates between the two networks were removed in several stages in 2008. Although the MTR Corporation is a listed company, the Hong Kong Government is the controlling shareholder.

In 2006, the local KCR passenger train network (i.e. intercity services excluded) recorded an annual ridership of 544 million.

List of railway lines in China

The following is a list of rail transport in China.

Lok Ma Chau Spur Line

The Lok Ma Chau Spur Line is the second railway link between Hong Kong and Mainland China, relieving passenger congestion at Lo Wu Station. The 7.4 km (4.6 mi) alignment branches off the existing MTR East Rail Line north of Sheung Shui Station and then runs to the Lok Ma Chau Station where customs and immigration facilities are provided. The terminus is connected to new Futian Checkpoint Station (formerly named as Huanggang Station) of the Shenzhen Metro Line 4 by a pedestrian bridge across the Shenzhen River.

The KCRC has adopted a combined tunnel and viaduct scheme for the spur line. From Sheung Shui to Chau Tau, the railway runs through tunnels, the railway then runs on viaducts until it reaches Lok Ma Chau Station.

The Spur Line project comprises four major sections, namely, the tunnels, the viaducts, Lok Ma Chau Station, and the modification works at the existing Sheung Shui Station. Unlike the rest of the East Rail Line, which is above ground, this section is located underground.

The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region endorsed the Corporation's construction of the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line on 14 June 2002. Construction commenced in January 2003. The line was officially opened on 15 August 2007, in ceremonies led by Henry Tang, the Chief Secretary for Administration of Hong Kong.The station is reached by foot from Shenzhen (the mainland side), or by MTR train, bus, mini-bus, or taxi from the Hong Kong side.

Private cars, bicycles, and walking through the restricted frontier zone to other parts of Hong Kong according to an official at the Hong Kong border are not allowed.

The station is in a restricted area where no stores or other businesses except MTR tenants (such as 7-Eleven) are allowed.

Outline of Hong Kong

The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to Hong Kong:

Hong Kong – one of two special administrative regions of China, the other being Macau. The territory lies on the eastern side of the Pearl River Delta, bordering Guangdong province in the north and facing the South China Sea in the east, west and south. Beginning as a trading port in the 19th century, Hong Kong has developed into one of the world's leading financial centres.

Hong Kong was a Crown colony of the United Kingdom from 1842 to 1981 and was a British dependent territory from 1981 until the transfer of its sovereignty to the People's Republic of China in 1997. The Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law of Hong Kong stipulate that Hong Kong operate with a high degree of autonomy until at least 2047, fifty years after the transfer.

Under the “one country, two systems” policy, the Central People's Government is responsible for the territory's defence and foreign affairs, while the Government of Hong Kong is responsible for its own legal system, police force, monetary system, customs policy, immigration policy, and delegates to international organisations and events.

Outline of rail transport

Rail transport – means of conveyance of passengers and goods by way of wheeled vehicles running on rail tracks consisting of steel rails installed on sleepers/ties and ballast.

Rail transport by country

This page provides an index of articles on rail transport by country.

Rail transport in China

Rail transport is an important mode of long-distance transportation in the People's Republic of China. As of 2015, the country has 121,000 km (75,186 mi) of railways, the second longest network in the world. By the end of 2018, China had 29,000 kilometres (18,020 miles) of high-speed rail (HSR), the longest HSR network in the world.[4]Almost all rail operations are handled by the China Railway Corporation, a state-owned company created in March 2013 from dissolution of the Ministry of Railways.

China's railways are among the busiest in the world. In 2014, railways in China delivered 2.357 billion passenger trips, generating 1,160.48 billion passenger-kilometres and carried 3.813 billion tonnes of freight, generating 2,753 billion cargo tonne-kilometres. Freight traffic turnover has increased more than fivefold over the period 1980-2013 and passenger traffic turnover has increased more than sevenfold over the same period. Driven by need to increase freight capacity, the railway network has expanded with the country budgeting $130.4 billion for railway investment in 2014, and has a long term plan to expand the network to 274,000 km (170,000 mi) by 2050. China built 9,000 km of new railway in 2015.

Shanghai–Kowloon through train

The Shanghai–Kowloon through train is an intercity railway service between Hung Hom station in Hong Kong and the Shanghai railway station, jointly operated by the MTR of Hong Kong and China's national rail service (Shanghai Railway Bureau). The numbers of this train service is Z99B (being away from Shanghai) and Z100B (being towards Shanghai). Services operate along the East Rail Line in Hong Kong, crossing the boundary between Hong Kong and mainland China at Lo Wu/Luohu and then continuing along China's railway network via the Guangshen railway, Jingguang railway and the Hukun railway to Shanghai. The Through Train runs every other day. The journey time is approximately 20 hours.

The stops on the route are Guangzhou East, Zhuzhou, and Jinhuaxi stations. Only passengers taking Z99A/Z100A (Shanghai-Guangzhou East) can disembark at these stops.

Since 1 October 2003, passengers who are taking Z99B/100B cannot disembark the train at the stops listed above, as all travelers to Hong Kong from Shanghai clear Chinese immigration and customs at Shanghai station, and once they have done so they are considered to have left Mainland China and are no longer permitted to leave the train until their arrival at Hung Hom station. The same rule also applies to Northbound travelers who will clear Chinese immigration once they have arrived at Shanghai station. 144-hour visa-free transit for passengers who are of selected nationalities are available since 30 January 2016.

Track gauge in Hong Kong

In Hong Kong, the three ex-KCR lines (the East Rail Line, the West Rail Line, and the Ma On Shan Line) and the Light Rail service use 1,435 mm (4 ft 8 1⁄2 in) standard gauge. New extensions to the Island Line (West Island Line) and Kwun Tong Line, as well as the South Island Line, also use the 1,435 mm gauge.The Mass Transit Railway (MTR) lines (except for West Island Line, South Island Line, and Kwun Tong Line extension) that were not part of the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) use 1,432 mm (4 ft 8 3⁄8 in) track gauge, 3 mm (1⁄8 in) narrower than standard gauge.Hong Kong Tramways, which has been operating tram service on northern Hong Kong Island since 1904, uses 1,067 mm (3 ft 6 in) gauge.

West Rail line

The West Rail line (Chinese: 西鐵綫) is one of the MTR lines in Hong Kong, indicated by the colour dark magenta. It was formerly known as the KCR West Rail (九廣西鐵). The line connects Hung Hom station in Kowloon and Tuen Mun station in Tuen Mun, 35.7 km away, in 37 minutes. The railway runs through the urban area of Kowloon, and the new towns of Yuen Long, Tin Shui Wai and Tuen Mun.

Currently the West Rail line only provides a local service at a three-minute peak headway, resembling a metro more than a commuter railway. However, the line was built to commuter railway standard, anticipating freight and intercity services to Mainland China which were cancelled and superseded by the Guangzhou–Shenzhen–Hong Kong Express Rail Link Hong Kong section.

The line was originally built and operated by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) prior to its merger with the MTR Corporation (MTRC), which took over the line on 2 December 2007 under a 50-year lease.

Rail transport in Asia
Sovereign states
States with
limited recognition
Dependencies and
other territories
Public services
Government agencies
Other topics

This page is based on a Wikipedia article written by authors (here).
Text is available under the CC BY-SA 3.0 license; additional terms may apply.
Images, videos and audio are available under their respective licenses.