Staring down a MTR train

Most of the time when travelling on Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway the carriages are packed to the rafters, with the only thing visible being other passengers.

Not quite rush hour on the MTR

However if you stay onboard until the end of the line, the length each the train becomes more obvious, as the articulated corridor connections between each carriage give you a clear view to the opposite end.

Looking down 8 carriages of train

Most of the MTR fleet is made up of 8-car long train sets as in the photo above, the exceptions being the 4-car sets on the Disneyland and Ma On Shan Line branches, and the 12-car sets on East Rail. Unfortunately the latter case doesn’t give you a longer train to stare down, as the vestibules for the First Class carriage block the view at car 9 in the consist.

The clear view through the train also exposes the alignment of tunnels to the passenger, showing the changes in elevation and direction: at times the train feels more like the inside of spacecraft Discovery One from the film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’.

Subway train looking like a prop from '2001: A Space Odyssey'

If you want to find an empty train for yourself, I recommend a visit to the LOHAS Park branch of the Tseung Kwan O Line – there isn’t any other reason a visitor to Hong Kong to would travel out there!

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7 Responses to Staring down a MTR train

  1. xahldera says:

    Actually the LOHAS Park estate is interesting from a building/planning/architecture perspective and possibly shows how not to build an expensive private estate. One of the problems it has is that it is built near a former landfill site and some have complained of the smell there, as mentioned here. It was also interesting to see the number of estate agents still trying to peddle apartments there.

    • Alvin Wong says:

      Actually LOHAS Park is the landfill.
      1 train in 12 minutes! People living there will be quite…

      If you managed to get on a train for the Depot, you will see a real “empty” train.

  2. Matthieu says:

    If you take the Tung Chung Line at 9:30pm between Tung Chung and Sunny Bay it’s empty.

    • Extra trains running to Sunny Bay to pick up Disneyland visitors headed home after closing time?

      • Matthieu says:

        No, all trains run to Tung Chung. I don’t think it’s possible to make trains terminate at Sunny Bay without some complicated arrangement. The 6-7 minute frequency is largely adequate. Before 2006 the evening peak frequency was 10 mins, it was lowered after the 4 additional K-Stock trains were delivered due to complaints from passengers.

        And I think the Tung Chung Line is the only line to run at 10mins interval after 22:00, leading to overcrowding at cars nearest to the escalators.

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