Farewelling the first generation MTR trains

The first trains ran on Hong Kong’s MTR network way back in 1979, and almost forty years later these trains still remain in service, albeit having been refurbished and upgraded a number of times.

First generation Metro Cammell MTR train
Photo via Apple Daily

The first batch of ‘Phase 1’ trains was delivered by British firm Metro Cammell between 1979–1982, followed by phase 2A trains in 1982–1985, phase 2B trains in 1985–1986, phase 2C in 1988–1989, and the final phase 3 trains in 1994–1998. Refurbishment of the trains by Australian firm United Goninan commenced at the MTR Kowloon Bay Depot in 1998, with the last train being outshopped in 2001.

Running along a viaduct, a northbound train arrives into Kwai Fong station

To farewell the last of the non-refurbished trains, on 19 August 2001 the MTR operated a special “Charity Ride on the Last First-Generation MTR Train” (第一代地鐵列車榮休之旅列車) with local railfans being out in force.

'Charity Ride on the Last First-Generation MTR Train' headboard - photo by HKRail.Net/John Shum, licensed under under CC BY-SA 4.0
Photo by HKRail.Net/John Shum, licensed under under CC BY-SA 4.0

A total of 93 refurbished Metro Cammell EMUs remain in serivce on the network today, but all will be replaced by new CSR Sifang-built trains to be delivered between 2018 and 2023.


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3 Responses to Farewelling the first generation MTR trains

  1. xahldera says:

    Still remember the trains unrefurbished compartments when I went to Hong Kong as a small child in the mid 90’s. It seem so exciting and fast and dynamic compared to the trains back home in Scotland. The MTR still is in many respects! 😉

    • Unfortunately my memories of the early days of the MTR are much hazier – on my 1998 visit Lok Fu was my local station, and all I can remember are the green walls and lack of platform screen doors.

      • xahldera says:

        By coincidence, Lok Fu was near where many of my relatives lived as well. I also remember taking brief trips on the then KCR at roughly the same time. To my child self, it felt weirder and slower and less exciting in comparison. 😀

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