It had to happen some day, and March 2021 is it – the first of Hong Kong’s Metro Cammell EMUs have been retired from service and despatched to the scrap yard.
This thread on the hkitalk.net forums covers the scrapping process, with multiple East Rail Line EMUs chopped up into chunks then transported by road to a scrap yard in the New Territories for recycling.
The East Rail line trains are being replaced by 9-car Hyundai Rotem EMUs.
Local newspaper Oriental Daily also covered the story.
MTR decommissioned train cards transported to scrapyards. Railway fans advocate retention and activation
1 April 2021
In order to cope with the extension of the East Rail Line across the harbour as part of the under the Sha Tin to Central Link project, the MTR plans to gradually replace the current 12-car trains with 9-car trains made in South Korea.
Many railway fan groups on the Internet have recently published articles stating that a large number of decommissioned MTR trains have been found in a scrap yard in the New Territories. The photos show that at least 10 carriages have accumulated in the yard, like a “carriage hill”. These are British-made trains running on the East Rail Line earlier, and some of them are also British-made trains that run on urban lines. Seeing that the old MTR trains were crushed into scrap metal, some railway fans bluntly expressed their heartache and thought that the revitalisation of these retired trains could be considered as a memorial and to leave a collective memory for the public.
MTR responded that as some of the 12-car trains on the East Rail Line have reached the year of retirement, given the large number of trains, while exploring feasible community donations, the company has also entrusted a contractor to handle the decommissioned trains through open tenders. The MTR has required contractors to dismantle recyclable components in accordance with the relevant laws and guidelines of the Environmental Protection Department and ensure that the treatment process will not cause environmental pollution problems.
The MTR added that when the train reaches the end of its asset life, the company will invest in the purchase and replacement of new trains in accordance with the asset renewal plan. When handling decommissioned trains and car equipment, MTR will explore different feasibility, including donating to community partners for appropriate purposes. In the past, it has donated a decommissioned train to the Fire Services Department as a simulation training facility.
The MTR Corporation had invited tenders for the decommissioning of 29 Metro Cammel EMUs back in 2016.
Decommissioning and Removal of Used EMUs
Contract No.: Q045298
MTR Corporation Limited invites qualified companies to express their interest in tendering for the decommissioning and removal of used Electric Multiple Units (EMUs).
29 consists of 12-car Metro Cammell EMUs are currently running in the Corporation’s East Rail Line and are planned to be in service until one month prior to their scheduled service retirement dates from end 2017 to 2019. The Corporation is open to consider various feasible means/methods for removal of these EMUs, from resale as whole trains to disposal as scrap. The Corporation will also consider any feasible community service plans or environmental initiatives utilizing the retired trains. Interested companies and entities are welcome to register according to the instructions below.
The prequalification process for the tender will take place in April 2016 and tenders will be invited in the second half of 2016.
The similarly aged Metro Cammell M-Train stock as used on the ‘urban lines‘ are also up for retirement soon, to be replaced by the CSR Qingdao Sifang built ‘Urban Lines Vision Train‘.
So far the only M-Train stock to have been scrapped are accident damaged carriages, such as this one at Tsuen Wan Depot in March 2021.
So sad to see the first generation EMUs (yellow heads) getting scrapped. As a child I used to ride on one of these every week between Hung Hom and Tai Wei and still remember the orange seats. The seating arrangement is also unique in that they face the direction the car is moving as opposed to being on the side as in the later refurbished versions. It was a bonus for me too when either a through train or freight train passes by when I’m waiting on the platform.
As far as I know one set (144/244/444) still remains. Does anyone know where I can get a HO 1:87 model of the yellow head? I just found out a few days ago that MTR corporation released a limited edition of 2000 pcs of this model in April 2021. I had a glance of it and it was highly detailed and my first thought was this model was produced by 80M but apparently not. I was too late to get one, of course 🙁 Any chance they will do a re-run? It will for sure bring back good memories.
Their online store still lists the later Mid-life Refurbished version.
If you’ve got HK$1500 or so burning a hole in your pocket, a few people are setting the ‘Yellow Head’ version on online classifieds site Carousell.
Curious to know: what exactly is going on with that Urban line train? I swear I saw a 13-car configuration in the Facebook post… could those proficient in Cantonese help me out a little here?
I’m assuming it’s a ‘good’ 8-car set towing five carriages from an accident damaged set – the other three cars having to be trucked away as they were too damaged to move by rail.
Is there a website to keep track of how many metro cammels remain in service? I’m hoping to go back to Hong Kong in time to catch the last farewell train if they have it, but it’s not easy.
Unfortunately not – your best option is probably the “retirement” section of the Chinese-language Wikipedia page.