From Academic Kids

This article is about KCR as a railway network.

The Kowloon-Canton Railway, frequently abbreviated as the KCR, is the railway network providing intercity, suburban and rapid transit passenger services in Hong Kong. The first section of the network opened in 1910 and trains were steam hauled. The network has since grown to four lines, 32 railway stations and 68 light rail stops. The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation is responsible for the network's operations, and is in turn fully owned by the Hong Kong Government.


KCR network

Missing image
Current system map of the KCR with planned extensions

KCR East Rail
Between East Tsim Sha Tsui and Lo Wu1

KCR Light Rail
Within towns of Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai

KCR West Rail
Between Nam Cheong and Tuen Mun

KCR Ma On Shan Rail
Between Tai Wai and Wu Kai Sha

1 Intercity services run from Hung Hom beyond Lo Wu to Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai and other cities.

History of the KCR

The Kowloon-Canton Railway started as a rail link between Kowloon and Canton (now Guangzhou) in 1910. Its British Section, the section within Hong Kong's territory, is the present-day East Rail. (The remaining section, the Chinese Section, is the present-day Guangshen (Guangzhou-Shenzhen) Railway , 廣深鐵路).

Originally, the railway went from Tsim Sha Tsui across the border to Canton. When the communists took over mainland China in 1949, the KCR trains no longer crossed the border to get to Canton. Since then, Lo Wu became the terminus.

The British Section opened for service in 1910 as a single track system. When it was opened, trains went from Yau Ma Tei Station (now Mong Kok Station) through the New Territories and up to the China border at Lo Wu. The southern terminus, Kowloon Station in Tsim Sha Tsui opened slightly later.

It was originally a narrow gauge railway but was changed to standard gauge before its opening. The narrow gauge materials was later used to build the now-defunct Sha Tau Kok Railway.

After the decision to build West Rail, the "British Section" is renamed to East Rail.

Originally the Railway Department of the government was responsible for the operation of KCR. In December 1982 an ordinance was enacted and the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), a public corporation wholly-owned by the government, was set up and took over the operation and management of the KCR.

Its network was expanded in 1984, when the KCRC accepted the government's invitation to build and operate the Light Rail network in the New Territories, which came into service in September of 1988.

The West Rail was proposed in the early 1990s, and was opened in 20 December 2003. The Ma On Shan Rail was opened in 21 December 2004.

KCR East Rail

Main article - KCR East Rail

Trains for local service on the British Section of the Kowloon-Canton Railway were originally steam powered, but diesel trains were gradually introduced during the 1950s, and by 1962 they had fully replaced all steam trains. In 1973, a moderisation programme was began which included double tracking and electrifying the railway. The first stage of electrification was completed with the start of an inner suburban service between Kowloon station and Sha Tin station on 6 May 1982. One year later, on 15 July 1983 the final section of the railway to Lo Wu was completed and opened by the then Governor, Sir Edward Youde. Diesel locomotives were replaced by electric multiple units.

Inter-city passenger and freight train services to cities in mainland China share most of the tracks of the local service. The service was terminated in 1949 when communist was in power following Chinese civil war. It was resumed in 1979 when the late leader Deng Xiaoping introduced the Open Door Policy.

In 1975, the southern terminus was moved to the new Kowloon Station (now Hung Hom) as the old Kowloon Station was too small and there was no room to expand.

The electric multiple units trains of East Rail were refurbrished in the late 1990s.

KCR West Rail

Main article - KCR West Rail

KCR West Rail was proposed in the early 1990s and both the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC, now the MTR Corporation Limited, MTRCL) and Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) submitted plans to the government, and the government awarded the project to KCRC, and approved the first phase project in September 1998. Construction began in October 1998 with service commenced on 20 December 2003. It is the first new rail line built by KCRC.

The first phase of West Rail starts at Nam Cheong Station in Sham Shui Po and ends at Tuen Mun Station in Tuen Mun. The 30.5km alignment has 9 stations and costs HK$46.2 billion. It provides interchanges with KCR Light Rail at four stations and MTR Tsuen Wan Line and Tung Chung Line in its urban section.

New trains were bought to run on the new line, and they run in seven cars. Extensions to nine-car trains would be possible. Stations are all air-conditioned and platform screen doors (PSDs) are built to enhance safety.

The patronage of West Rail is not very high. Critics said that the stations are too far away from their living area and needs an extra Light Rail journey. Fares are high and journey time is not so different from travelling by buses. Faulty of the line leading to service suspensions in the first few months of service cannot ensure passenger confidence on its service. KCR has launched campaigns to promote ridership, including reduced fares, a monthly pass and interchange discount with buses and minibuses. Patronage is now riding steadily.

Extension of West Rail, called the Kowloon Southern Link, has been approved to build in 2002 to extend the service to Hung Hom. The second phase of West Rail, the Northern Link, will connect Kam Sheung Road to Lok Ma Chau to connect to Lok Ma Chau Spur Line.

KCR Ma On Shan Rail

Main article - KCR Ma On Shan Rail

The government approved the building of KCR Ma On Shan Rail in mid-1998. Construction started in 2000 and service operated from 21 December 2004. It runs from Tai Wai to Wu Kai Sha with a total of 9 stations. Tai Wai serves as the interchange between East Rail and Ma On Shan Rail.

Most of the line, including stations, were built elevated on reserved lands along the eastern side of Sha Tin and Ma On Shan. Trains running on this line resembles the West Rail ones, but is now in a four-car configuration. Most platforms have infrastructure prepared for eight car trains if patronage increases. Ma On Shan Rail is the first rail line in Hong Kong runs on the right hand side, contrary to left hand side on other lines as well as on roads.

KCR Light Rail

Main article - KCR Light Rail
to be added

KCR Feeder Bus

KCR operates feeder bus services for the better connection between the housing estates or villages and the KCR rail stations. These services include 15 West Rail and Light Rail feeder bus routes, and one residential route (As of March 2005). West Rail and Ligh Rail passengers can ride most of these routes free with the use of the Octopus Card, while others have to pay a fee.

There are also 6 East Rail feeder bus routes, but operated under the franchise of KMB. In the past, they are operated by KCR.

Station facilities and safety

Fares and tickets

Currently, there are two different fare classes on the KCRC: Adult and concessionary. Only children between the age 3 and 12 or senior citizens 65 years or older qualify for the concessionary rate. Unlike MTR, there is no student concessionary fare for students for KCR, but students living in Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai could apply a personalised Octopus card for Light Rail fare discount.

East Rail, Ma On Shan Rail, West Rail and the octopus fare system of Light Rail use a distance-based fare system. That means the charged fare is related to the distance between the starting and destination stations. The fare range for each line is as follows (as of 2005):

Note that the fare for first-class service on East Rail is doubled to the normal services, and a special tariff applies on passengers to Lo Wu which accounts for the higher fare. Fare of West Rail is currently under 10% discount.

Light Rail also implements a zonal fare system on single journey ticket users. There are totally six zones. Adult fare ranges from HK$4.0-$5.8, and concessionary fare ranges from HK$2.0-2.9 (as of 2005).

There are two payment methods:

Octopus card

Main article - Octopus card

An Octopus add value machine in a KCRC station.  People add money to their Octopus cards using these machines.
An Octopus add value machine in a KCRC station. People add money to their Octopus cards using these machines.

In 1998, the MTR and KCR started using the Octopus Access Control System as the main payment method for travel on its network, replacing the Common Stored Value Tickets. Octopus cards are rechargeable, contactless smart cards, thus money is digitally stored in the card, and the amount can be automatically calculated and deducted by Octopus card readers. The system was originally proposed and introduced by the MTR. It has been extended to different services such as minibuses, franchised buses such as the Kowloon Motor Bus and Citybus, supermarkets, and fast food restaurants. It has the potential to be further developed in other fields of services. The older, traditional magnetic ticketing system is also still in use for single journeys.

Using Octopus card to travel on KCR is slightly cheaper than using single journey tickets. Various discount schemes on different lines, and free or discounted transfer to other modes of transport have to be done through Octopus Card.

Rolling stocks


  • Clyde Engineering (Australia) G12 loco: 5 diesel locomotives (1954-1957)
  • Clyde Engineering/GM (Australia) G16 loco: 4 diesel locomotives (1961-1966)
  • General Motors (Australia) G26 CU diesel loco: 3 diesel locomotives (1974-1977)
  • Siemens (Germany) ER20 loco: 5 diesel locomotives (2002)
  • Adtranz-SLM Lok 2000 loco: 2 diesel locomotives (1997)
  • 0-4-4T (UK) steam loco: 2 (1924)***NOTE: This steam engine was once used at the Sha Tau Kok Branch Line, but after closing in 1924, the engine is now placed in this museum for display. It has been the only steam engine in Hong Kong for over 40 years since KCR has last used a steam engine.)

Passenger Train Coaches

  • MetroCammell EMU (1983): 348 out of 351 cars (all underwent mid-life refurbishment between 1996 - 1999)
    • NOTE: Unit E44 (cars 144-244-444) didn't undergo refurbishment, and one of the cars is now kept at the Tai Po Railway Museum for display.
  • East Rail Kinki Sharyo EMU SP1900: 96 cars (2001)
  • West Rail Itochu/Kinki Sharyo/Kawasaki Consortium EMU SP1900: 154 cars (2001)
  • Kinki Sharyo EMU SP1950: 72 cars
  • Kinki Sharyo KTT passenger coaches (for service between Guangzhou and Kowloon): 12 cars (1998)
    • NOTE: All Kinki Sharyo stock are imported from Japan.

Light Rail

  • Comeng (Australia) LRV: 70 units (1988)
  • Kawasaki Heavy Industries (Japan) LRV (DT/MT): 30 units (1992-1993)
  • A. Goninan (Australia) LRV: 20 units (1997-1998)


  • Dennis Trident (UK)
  • Leyland Olympians (UK)

Future expansion

Lok Ma Chau Spur Line

The government permitted the spur line project on 14 June 2002, after KCR proposing a better alignment to protect the wetlands in Long Yuen. Construction starts in January 2003 and service commences in mid-2007.

The 7.4km spur line helps relieving the congestion of cross-border ridership at Lo Wu, which connects Sheung Shui and the checkpoint at Lok Ma Chau. The alignment of the branch has been altered for several times to reduce the impact to Long Yuen, a major wetland area near the border where is a paradise for migrating birds. It consists of a bored tunnel from Sheung Shui across Long Yuen, and rises at Chau Tau as viaducts to Lok Ma Chau station. Areas are reserved so that a future station of Kwu Tung can be built as a stop in the spur line. There will be six trains per hour serving from East Tsim Sha Tsui station, and the journey time is 47 minutes.

Lok Ma Chau station will connect to Shenzhen Metro Huanggang station through a double-decker footbridge, and the station itself provides shopping areas, immigration and customs faciilities. It will also serves as the terminus for other transport modes.

Northern Link


Kowloon Southern Link

The KCRC has made proposals to plan, build, and operate the Kowloon Southern Link receiving permission for the project from the government on September 24 2002.

The 4.5km Kowloon Southern Link will connect the West Rail Nam Cheong station with the East Rail East Tsim Sha Tsui station with an intermediate stop at West Kowloon. Upon completion, West Rail will run to Hung Hom station and East Rail will retreat its service back to Hung Hom. The station will become the interchange between East Rail, West Rail and the proposed Sha Tin to Central Link. Journey time from Tin Shui Wai to East Tsim Sha Tsui will be 30 minutes.

Disputes on the funding and location of Canton Road station in Tsim Sha Tsui, which was in the proposed alignment, has pushed the construction a year later to 2005. The new link will start operation in 2009.

Sha Tin to Central Link

On June 25 2002 the government announced that KCRC had won its bid to build and operate the Sha Tin to Central Link. When the line is completed , the KCR network will cross Victoria Harbour and reach Hong Kong Island for the first time. Later the KCRC announced modification to the proposal, with the East Kowloon portion of the line joining Ma On Shan Rail at Tai Wai, and the cross-harbour portion joining the East Rail at Hung Hom.

See also



From KCRC Homepage

Government Documents

Other websites

External links

Template:KCRC Template:KCRCStationsfr:Kowloon-Canton Railway ja:九廣鉄路 zh:九廣鐵路


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