The former Kowloon-Canton Railway owned a number of diesel locomotives for use on their railway between Kowloon and the border with China at Lo Wu. The two first diesels (numbers 51 and 52) entered service in 1955, being EMD G12s ordered from Clyde Engineering in Australia. Three more locomotives (numbered 53-55) soon followed, enabling the end of the regular steam locomotives use on passenger trains in 1957.
With electrification of the KCR line being commissioned in 1983 the diesel fleet no longer hauled passenger trains, instead being used to move freight to and from the border with China, as well as hauling maintenance trains on the line. The main freight traffic seemed to have been container traffic to the wharf at Hung Hom, and parcels traffic to the Hong Kong International Mail Centre (also at Hung Hom). There was also livestock to the yard at Ho Man Tin (near the Hung Hom passenger terminus), but it appears this ended with the opening of the Sheung Shui Slaughterhouse in the New Territories.
By the late 1990s the EMD G12 fleet had been retired: in 2004 locomotive KCR 51 was restored and placed into the Hong Kong Railway Museum, the other four classmates being purchased by Chicago Freight Car Leasing Australia (CFCLA), then sent to Australia to be refurbished, re-entering service as the TL class (TL152 through TL155). Here is locomotive 51 at the railway museum:
And TL154 stabled at the Creek Siding in Melbourne, Australia:
The second type of diesel locomotive was the larger EMD G16 model with 1800hp, the first three units (numbered 56-58) entered service in 1961 after being built in GM in Illinois, USA. The delivery of these locomotives enabled the retirement of steam locomotives on the KCR in 1962. A fourth EMD G16 (number 59) entered service in 1966, this time built by Clyde Engineering. The final order of EMD locomotives was for the 2000hp EMD G26CU. The first unit (number 60) entered service in 1974, with two more (numbers 61 and 62) following in 1976.
In 2003 the KCR purchased their final diesels: five Siemens “Eurorunner” model ER20, numbered 8001 to 8005. As with the remaining EMD G16 and G26CU fleet, they were intended for freight services. With the merger of the MTR and KCR in 2007 all locomotives passed to the MTR. All three types remain in Hong Kong, but see little use since the end of freight services in June 2010. They are usually seen lurking around the Fo Tan track maintenance depot or at the Hung Hom locomotive depot.
Number 59 at Fo Tan Depot:
Number 62 at Fo Tan Depot:
A light engine move departs the servicing depot at Hung Hom for the Fo Tan works depot between 3pm and 3.30pm most days, here Eurorunner 8002 leads EMD G16 number 59 at Mong Kok East station:
I have read that the EMD G16 fleet is up for retirement in the next year or two: given the current lack of freight, the current diesel locomotive fleet seems excessive.