The Tung Chung Line is a pretty different from the rest of the MTR network: the majority of it is located at ground level like a conventional railway, and it shares a lot of track with the Airport Express which operates on a different stopping pattern. The track sharing leads to some interesting track layouts at stations: we’ll start at the Hong Kong end, the full set of photos is here.
Two types of trains are used on the line: the “A-stock” were those ordered with the line, with a small number of “K-stock” entering service 10 years later to cater for increased patronage. Both trains are different to the rest of the MTR fleet in having an exterior livery, with the carriage sides being painted in two tone grey. This is presumably due to the trains spending much of their time running at ground level, unlike the rest of the fleet that lives in tunnels.
Hong Kong station is shared by the Tung Chung and Airport Express lines: both use their own platforms.
The station is also linked to the rest of the MTR network via an underground pedestrian walkway to Central station. The walk takes about 5 to 10 minutes, even with travelators.
The Tung Chung and Airport Express lines then share track to Kowloon station, where they part ways again, staying this way to Tsing Yi. The Tung Chung line platforms uses the bottom floor, the airport express platforms being located between it and the concourse.
Olympic station is just a boring wayside station.
Beyond Olympic the line is located beneath the West Kowloon Highway viaduct. An interesting design decision is the emergency platforms for Airport Express trains: these allow passengers to be detained or transferred to other trains if required.
At Nam Cheong station the Tung Chung line platforms are on the outside of the tracks, allowing you to look through the middle of the station at the express tracks for the Airport Express.
The station also provides interchange with the West Rail line: but cross platform interchange is only provided in one direction (between northbound West Rail Line trains and southbound Tung Chung trains) as only one island platform is provided. I’m guessing the cheap layout was built because West Rail was built by the KCRC line while Tung Chung line is MTR: before the merger separate fare systems were used, so less interchange passages made the system simpler for the operators.
The next station is Lai King, where the cross platform interchange with the Tsuen Wan line was described the other day.
Southbound trains and the Airport Express use the bottom layer of the station:
While Tung Chung bound trains use the top level of viaduct:
From here the four tracks turn west, flip positions a bit, then cross a double deck bridge to reach Tsing Yi station. Here the Tung Chung line platforms are on one side to face the shopping centre, while the Airport Express platforms are on the other side so they can have direct road access to the concourse.
The tracks then change position a bit more, with the four platform tracks leading into three single track tunnels under the mountain:
Another interesting thing on the MTR is the provision of VDU screens in the passenger service booths on the station platforms, allowing the staff to know how far away trains are. If you can work out this track arrangement you are doing well!
After the tunnels at Tsing Yi the tracks merge into a single pair, heading across the lower deck Tsing Ma bridge to reach Lantau Island. After a short tunnel, the line then returns to ground level, paralleling the North Lantau Highway towards Tung Chung.
Sunny Bay station is located out in the middle of nowhere, being built to serve as an interchange for the Disneyland Resort Line. The Tung Chung line platforms are located on loop tracks off the main line, the two tracks in the middle are for Airport Express trains. The narrow island platforms are for emergency use, such as detraining passengers onto another train.
The station doesn’t seem to be a very good design: the platform tracks are only slightly longer than the platforms themselves, resulting in some Airport Express trains being delayed when a Tung Chung metro train is routed back onto the main line in front of it.
A bit past Sunny Bay is Siu Ho Wan depot, which maintains the trains and tack of the Tung Chung, Airport Express and Disneyland Resort lines. The track layout for the depot is interesting, with flyovers being provider at the up and down ends so trains entering the depot don’t block trains on the main line.
Also nearby is yet another set of emergency platforms: they don’t leave things to chance!
The line then splits into two, with a flyover taking the Tung Chung line tracks over the Airport Express tracks, before they enter a dive on the outskirts of Tung Chung New Town. The terminus itself is located underground in the middle of the town: the underground bit isn’t that interesting, being a standard island platform with a scissors crossover at the arrival end.
The above ground nature of the line lends itself to your “normal” 3/4 shot of trains, much the stretch of railway along Lantau Island is paralleled by a public access track, as seen in this photo from Wikipedia:
The main problem is the long walk from any MTR station. If there were more than just the same old EMUs running on the line it might be worth it, but unfortunately it isn’t like the East Rail line and it’s loco hauled trains…