Farewell to the MTR Phase 2 Light Rail Vehicles

As Hong Kong’s rail network ages, old rolling stock gets replaced by new, and so we now see the first retirements on the MTR Light Rail system – the Phase 2 Light Rail Vehicles.


Kawasaki Heavy Industries photo

The Phase 2 LRVs entered in service in 1992, with 20 cab cars numbered 1071-1090 10 trailers numbered 1201–1210 built by Kawasaki Heavy Industries to almost the same design as the earlier Phase 1 stock. In the mid-1990s they received the blue, red and yellow KCRC livery, and following the 2007 rail merger MTR logos replaced those of the KCR.

Phase II LRV 1076 departs San Hui on route 614P

The years that followed were uneventful, until August 2015 when MTR Corporation announced that new light rail vehicles would be acquired to replace the Phase 2 LRVs. A contract was signed with CRRC Nanjing Puzhen Rolling Stock in July 2016 to purchase a total of 40 new vehicles, 30 to replace the Phase 2 LRVs, and 10 additional units to expand the fleet.

The first of the new Phase 5 LRVs arrived in Hong Kong in December 2018 and entered service in November 2020. Initial plans would see the last Phase 2 LRV withdrawn in 2023, but delays in the commissioning of the new vehicles saw the older ones kept in service longer than expected.

The first Phase 2 LRVs were withdrawn in August 2022, when vehicles #1079 and #1204 were loaded onto trucks at Tuen Mun Depot, and transported to the scrap yard.

Due to delays in the commissioning of the Phase 5 LRVs, not expected to be fully operational until 2025, the reminder of the Phase 2 fleet still have some time until they are also withdrawn.

Footnote: what about refurbishments?

Back in 2008 the MTR contracted United Group to refurbish 68 Phase 1 light rail vehicles.

Phase I LRV 1023 on Castle Peak Road in Yuen Long

So why didn’t the Phase 2 LRVs get the same treatment?

Some sources say “cost-benefit considerations” made buying new light rail vehicles cheaper than refurbishing them, and given there were only 30 vehicles in the Phase 2 fleet, that is possible.

However some suggest that the Phase 3 LRVs will get refurbished rather than scrapped, and that is a class of just 20 vehicles – so who really knows.

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