Hong Kong memes and the MTR at Admiralty

The other day I found this meme making fun of crowded trains on the MTR, and thought the photo looked a bit familiar.

Hong Kong meme - MTR train after Admiralty station

(found on the ‘Hong Kong Memes’ Facebook page, but I’m unsure as to the original source)

Turns out it wasn’t a case of déjà vu – the photo of the empty train was one I took on my 2010 trip to Hong Kong.

An almost empty train on Hong Kong's MTR?

As to the story behind the meme, the joke referrers to MTR Island Line. As trains head west along the line through Causeway Bay and Wan Chai, more and more passengers board until they reach a crush load. At Admiralty the train then empties out again, as hundreds of passengers walk across the platform for a Tsuen Wan Line train under Victoria Harbour.

In they come

At least the queues to board the next train are orderly.

Orderly queueing at Admiralty station

The South China Morning Post wrote about congestion at Admiralty back in early 2014.

100 million tourists by 2023 prediction sparks fears the MTR will not cope
Stuart Lau and Ada Lee
24 January, 2014

It can be a worker’s hardest job of the day – squeezing into an MTR train during peak hours.

Some see four full trains go by before finally being able to struggle onto the fifth one at Admiralty station, while as many as 1,000 other people continue to line the platform, hoping for better luck with the next train.

“The long queues have been around for so many years without much improvement. It would be magic if you could get on the train easily at 6.30pm,” said Raven Wong Kar-yin, 40, an insurance worker waiting for a Tsuen Wan-bound train at Admiralty at that time last Thursday.

Observations showed that on a normal weekday evening, an average of 20 to 50 people queued outside each of the doors on Tsuen Wan-bound trains at Admiralty station, one of the most heavily used routes for cross-harbour commuters, between 6pm and 7pm.

That works out to more than 1,000 people at a time waiting for each of the trains that come every 106 seconds or so at one of the busiest interchange stations.

An MTR official with knowledge of the Island Line’s operation said the situation at Admiralty was “under control”, adding that queues were up to twice as long before station improvement work. But he admitted there had been an “obvious increase” in passengers in recent years.

Occupancy on the Island line was about 70 per cent. Veteran transport analyst Dr Hung Wing-tat said the 70 per cent occupancy rate could mean some stations were close to or had already exceeded their capacities, as some stations were less crowded than others.

The rest of the article is a whinge about tourists from Mainland China – a favourite hobby horse for Hong Kong locals, and a story for another day.


In the comments one railfan pointed out that the ‘full’ train was a different model to the ’empty’ one.

After that the train change itself from a M-Train to a K-Train ? lol

Another pointed out that K-Train stock doesn’t run on the Island Line.

不過……乜K-Train會經過 Admiralty 㗎咩?

To which one reply was.

To those arguing between K-Train and M-Train you have no sense of humour and that’s not funny

It is a common complaint from railfans around the world.

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5 Responses to Hong Kong memes and the MTR at Admiralty

  1. xahldera says:

    The meme though humourous has more than an element of truth in it. I’ve always considered Admiralty, Central and Tsim Sha Tsui as akin to one of the circles of hell when it comes to transport in Hong Kong! 😉

  2. A Meow Cat says:

    Haha the level of congestion on the MTR around the Admiralty area can only be rivaled by the Singapore MRT at City Hall/Raffles Place stations pre-CCL/DTL! Though hopefully with Phase 2 of the Shatin-Central Link completing this year (I have severe doubts) those cross-harbour passengers would finally find alternatives! A 9-car train (Hyundai Rotem EMU) beats an 8-car train any day!

    • A Meow Cat says:

      Also: Those who got baffled by the M-train/K-train thingie nearly got their chance to turn this into a “this meme is from the future” meme, because the Swap scheme for the proposed North Island Line would have involved splitting the present Island Line into two at the North Point/Quarry Bay interchange, giving the western half to the Tseung Kwan O line (which currently has the K-train) and the eastern half to the extended Tung Chung Line. Unfortunately that plan didn’t quite make it – the TCL frequency is constrained by the Tsing Ma Bridge.

  3. Pingback: MTR: Island Line - Checkerboard Hill

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