The MTR network has roots in two separate rail systems – the original MTR underground network, and the former KCR above ground network. There are no track connections between the two networks, and they use incompatible electrification schemes: the MTR uses 1500 V DC while the KCR was 25 kV AC.
It is not expected that any further integration will take place, hence the mutually exclusive DUAT and WELM Lines, and new projects such as the Shatin to Central Link maintaining the standards of their own “side” of the network.
Footnote: seeing the terms in use
Here’s one example of the network groupings being used – URL and AT&D in a tender for cleaning services:
Cleaning of all station areas including kiosks of URL except track-side related cleaning, electrical and plantroom areas and high level area cleaning
Cleaning of all station areas including kiosks of AT&D except track-side related cleaning, electrical and plantroom areas and high level area cleaning
The DUAT Signalling Replacement Project is to replace the signalling systems for six MTR linesand the Airport Express Line with the new signalling systems using Communications Based TrainControl (CBTC) technology. The six MTR lines include Tsuen Wan Line, Island Line, Kwun TongLine, Tsuen Kwan O Line, Disneyland Resort Line, and Tung Chung Line.
MTR Corporation Limited invites qualified contractors to express their interest in tendering for the works for the migration of the operating systems riding on the existing Corporate Data Network (CDN) in Lantau Airport Railway (LAR) , i.e. Airport Express and Tung Chung Line as well as Disneyland Resort Line.
AC motors shall be of squirrel-cage, induction type, and shall be suitable for 415 V (for DUAT lines) or 380 V (for WELM lines), 3-phase, 50 Hz supply. Only motors with rating 1 kW or below may be 240 V (for DUAT lines) or 220 V (for WELM lines), 1-phase, 50 Hz.
And finally – more alphabet soup
Each line on the MTR also has it’s own abbreviation.
East Rail Lines: ERL
East Rail Line EAL
Ma On Shan Line MOL
Lantau Airport Railway: LAR
Airport Express Line AEL
Disneyland Resort Line DRL
Tung Chung Line TCL
Light Rail LRL
Urban Lines: URL
Island Line ISL
Kwun Tong Line KTL
Tseung Kwan O Line TKL
Tsuen Wan Line TWL
South Island Line SIL
West Rail Line WRL
Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link XRL
As part of the 20th Anniversary activities, the MTR Corporation has planned a HK$90 million modernisation programme for 69 first-generation Light Rail vehicles. Works will begin later this year and will be completed in 2011.
A fresher and more vibrant colour scheme will be used to reflect the youth and energy of the new towns. Nature will be prominently featured through the green colour widely used in the vehicles’ interior, underlying the environmental friendliness of the electrified Light Rail system.
“The interior of the modernised Light Rail vehicles will have a lighter and more relaxed feel with the use of softer lines. The Light Rail route map was the inspiration behind the more dynamic colour scheme as it reflects the transport convenience to the residents,” explained Mr Wilfred Yeung, Chief Architect of MTR Corporation.
Access for the disabled being one improvement.
“In our aim to create a more comfortable travelling environment for passengers, the seating will be rearranged so that they all face forward. In addition, the position of grab poles and handles will be moved to create more room and improve the flow of passengers boarding and alighting vehicles.”
The Corporation will also take advantage of the modernisation project to provide better facilities for the disabled: provision of dedicated wheelchair parking area; brightly coloured stickers applied to grab poles and outer edges of vehicle doors, and light-coloured floor patterns at doorways to make it easier for the visually impaired.
As well as technical upgrades.
At the same time, new static inverters will be installed to power on-board equipments. The new static inverters will bring even quieter Light Rail operations and greater reliability at higher energy efficiency.
It appears brand new, but it is actually a 22-year-old Phase 1 Light Rail vehicle (LRV). Looking refreshed in bright green, purple and white, LRV1005 re-entered passenger service today (31 January 2011) after receiving a total facelift.
LRV1005 is the first to be upgraded under the LRV Modernisation Programme for the 99 LRVs which were put in service since 1988 and 1992. The programme will be gradually implemented in phases over the next five years.
“The modernised LRVs take on the same livery and design as the new LRVs which were introduced into passenger service just last year,” said Mr Ivan Lai, Head of Operating Support & West Region of MTR Corporation.
The look of the refurbished Phase I LRV.
Virtually indistinguishable from the new build Phase IV LRVs.
The exception being the tail end.
Phase IV LRVs having a rear emergency exit.
The last LRV to be refurbished was 1022, which reentered service 24 December 2013.
A total of 68 Phase I LRVs were refurbished as part of the program, down from 69 vehicles due to the retirement of LRV 1027 following a crash at Tin Shui Wai in 2011.
The Supplemental Agreement for the extension of the Original Contract (defined below) for the Mid-Life Refurbishment of Phase 1 Light Rail Vehicles (the “Phase 1 LRVs”), was entered into on 26 February 2010 between the Company and UGL (the “Supplemental Agreement”)
On 30 November 2007, KCRC entered into the Original Contract with UGL (the “Original Contract”), for the refurbishment of the Phase 1 LRVs for a period of 45 months from 30 November 2007 to 31 August 2011.
On 2 December 2007, the rights and obligations of KCRC under the Original Contract were vested in the Company pursuant to section 52(B) of the MTR Ordinance.
The Supplemental Agreement extends the Original Contract for a further period of 16 months from 31 August 2011 until 31 December 2012.
A second supplemental agreement was entered into by the Company and UGL on 21 December 2011 (the “Second Supplemental Agreement”) which extended the Original Contract to 31 December 2013.
A third supplemental agreement was entered into by the Company and UGL on 21 July 2014 (the “Third Supplemental Agreement”) which extended the Original Contract to 17 February 2014.
In consideration of UGL providing the Refurbishment Works (defined below) under the Original Contract, the Company is obliged to pay UGL a total sum of approximately HK$48,260,000 (excluding amounts for variations and additional works).
The Supplemental Agreement extended the scope of the Refurbishment Works of the Original Contract and the consideration payable by the Company to UGL for such extension is HK$83,736,143, as adjusted by an additional HK$14,435,327 and further increased by the Second Supplemental Agreement by an additional HK$34,957,178.
So MTR paid HK$83,736,143 for the refurbishment of their Phase 1 LRVs.
Hong Kong’s rail network is being transformed by the Shatin to Central Link project, with one of those changes being the expansion of trains on the West Rail line from 7 to 8 cars.
The story of West Rail starts in the 1990s with the ‘Western Corridor Railway’ that would link the new towns in the north-west New Territories to the urban areas of Kowloon. The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation initially proposed the use of 12-car long trains, the same as the East Rail Line.
But following value engineering exercises the decision was made to shrink trains to 9-cars long, with overall capacity of the line retained by running trains more frequently – every 90 seconds instead of 120.
The first stage of West Rail opened in December 2003 between Tuen Mun and Nam Cheong, being extended to Hung Hom in August 2009 following the completion of the Kowloon Southern Link beneath central Kowloon.
Seven-car long trains provided the initial services.
But platforms were constructed with enough space to serve longer trains.
The platform screen doors just locked out of use.
The end game for West Rail being something bigger – to extend the line through the densely populated districts of Kowloon City, and join up with the Ma On Shan Line at Tai Wai, forming the ‘East West Corridor‘.
And 36 additional carriages were purchased from the Itochu-Kinki Sharyo-Kawasaki Consortium at a cost of HK$1.18 billion, to allow the 348 existing SP1900 EMUs to be reconfigured as a fleet of 65 eight-car trains.
Between January 2016 and May 2018 a mix of 7 and 8-car trains operated on the West Rail line.
The platform information display system was updated to show the length of arriving trains.
Signage on the platform and platform screen doors indicating where trains will stop.
Pink for 7-car long trains.
And green for 8-cars.
Platform signage at Hung Hom station is a little confusing – West Rail line train cars are numbered from the Tuen Mun end, but Hung Hom bound trains all stop at the northern end of that platform, no matter the number of carriages.
Which results in the carriage numbers being offset by one, depending on how long the train is.
The East Rail line has the widest gaps between train and platform on the MTR network, the route having opened to passengers in 1910 as the Kowloon-Canton Railway. In the years that followed and the system modernised, with attempts made to improve passenger safety – platform gap fillers having been tried and failed.
The East Rail line was built as a ‘main line’ railway, with curved platforms at seven of its 14 stations due to geographical constraints, and is served by a variety of trains – two type of MTR EMU and a variety of locomotives hauling Intercity Through Trains.
Phase 1: A 7-day test on two MGFs under manual control at the south ends of Platforms 3 and 4, completed in August 2008.
Phase 2: A 6-week test on 10 MGFs under automatic control at Platforms 3 and 4, completed in May 2009.
Phase 3: An 8-week test on 98 MGFs under automatic control at all four platforms with wide platform gaps, completed in October 2009.
But the Railways Inspectorate of the Hong Kong Government found the fillers unreliable:
Results of the trial indicated that the MGF system was not reliable during typhoon and inclement weather, and some MGFs were jammed during heavy rain by debris washed by rain water into the MGF mechanism. Results from data collected during the good weather days were also not too promising for reasons below:
(a) Poor availability: The availability of the MGF system was 99.83% only, which was lower than MTRCL’s target of 99.99%. A total of 17 failures were found in 10,000 operating cycles.
(b) Poor reliability: The reliability of the MGF system was found to be 30 times below target. The actual result was a fault every 9,601 cycles, compared to MTRCL’s target of once every 300,000 cycles.
(c) High failure rate: During the trial, 6.1 failures occurred each day. In addition, there were 42 cases of MGF faults requiring resetting/adjusting of MGF by staff, 34 cases of man-machine interface faults requiring staff attention, and 187 cases of signalling/train interface faults.
The cause of further safety issues.
Regular MTR passengers would be expecting MGFs to be available and not pay heed to the platform gap. As such, when a MGF fails to function, it would be a safety hazard for passengers with an increased risk of stepping into the platform gap.
And delayed trains.
We found that with the adoption of MGF, each station was required to incur an extra 15 seconds for each cycle of train door opening and closing due to limitations of the existing East Rail line signalling system. The impact was equivalent to a reduction of two train journeys per hour per direction during peak hours.
According to the results of a passenger survey conducted by the MTR in November 2009, of 1,735 passengers interviewed, 62% said that they would not accept a reduction of 2 train journeys per hour to accommodate installation of MGFs as they do not want to wait longer for trains.
Their eventual finding.
The trial was considered not successful as the MGF system was proved unreliable with prolonged platform dwell time and negative impact on service. MTRCL would therefore explore better solutions to mitigate the platform gap risk.
So what next?
Given the failed trial of platform gap fillers at Lo Wu, the decision was made to combine the required upgrades with the Shatin to Central Link project, which is bringing automatic platform gates, new signalling and new trains to the East Rail line.
A total of 2300 automatic platform gates will be installed across all platforms on the upgraded line, along with 140 gap fillers to be installed at Lo Wu, University and Mong Kok East Stations, where the platforms have the widest gaps.
In 2013 a mockup station platform was constructed in the Shatin Freight Yard to test the retrofitting process.
With work underway levelling and reinforcing platforms for the new infrastructure to rest atop them.
But the platform gates and gap fillers themselves cannot be commissioned until the completion of the Shatin to Central Link sometime after 2020, due to the existing train fleet not being compatible with the new infrastructure.