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Encyclopedia > East Rail
East Rail (東鐵)
Opening Date 10 October 1911
Stations 14
Number of trains 34
Service Area North District, Tai Po, Sha Tin, Yau Tsim Mong, Kowloon City

The East Rail is one of the three lines of the KCRC network in Hong Kong. It starts at East Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon and ends at Lo Wu, the land border with Shenzhen. The route used to be the only metro line of the KCRC, but following the construction of the West Rail, it was designated the East Rail to avoid confusion.

The same railway is used for passenger and freight services crossing the border with Shenzhen to various cities in mainland China, including Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. These longer-distance passenger services start/end at Hung Hom. The line is generally double-track and electrified, except for certain goods sheds. Immigration and customs facilities are available at Hung Hom station.


The construction of the East Rail started in 1910, then as the Kowloon-Canton Railway. The part of the railway located in Hong Kong was referred to as the "British Section", while the remaining route to Guangzhou was called the "Chinese Section", now the Guangshen Railway. Initially, service was only from Yau Ma Tei station to Fanling station with a tunnel through Beacon Hill (to Sham Chun (now Shenzhen) station for border crossing, and later changed to Lo Wu station after Communist China closed the border in 1949). The line was generally single track, with a passing loop at each station.

Through the years, more stations continued to be added to the line. Sheung Shui station was opened in the 1930s, and Ma Liu Shui (now University) station opened in 1955. The line was originally built with narrow gauge tracks, but just before opening standard gauge track was laid and the original tracks were used to build a branch line, the Sha Tau Kok Railway from Fanling to Sha Tau Kok. This branch was unsuccessful and closed on 1 April 1928 following the opening a road that ran parallel to the train.

The development of the towns along the train line began to grow immensely during the 1970s, prompting a redevelopment of the Kowloon-Canton Railway. The original Kowloon station terminus at Tsim Sha Tsui was too small and had no room for expansion, so a new terminus site was chosen in Hung Hom, then known as Kowloon station. The new Kowloon station replaced the old one in 1974. Today, the clock tower is the only structure left from the old terminus. Some six pillars are relocated to Urban Council Centennial Park in TST East. A big bell was stored at Ho Tung Lau. The original Hung Hom station at Chatham Road South was also abolished.

The line was also doubled (throughout) and electrified. This work involves building a new tunnel through Beacon Hill and providing an interchange with the MTR network. The development finished in sections between 1982 and 1983, with new electric multiple units replacing diesel locomotives. During the electrification, more stations were added to the line.

On 25 November 1984, a train derailed between Sheung Shui and Fanling station. The track system was out of order and caused the first and second couple of the train to derail. Fortunately, all passengers and the driver had already got out of the train, and no one was injured. However, the accident causes service to stop for a whole day. It is certain that this is the Hong Kong's most serious railway accident ever made.

On 28 December 2004 a branch to the East Rail, the Ma On Shan Rail was added, with an interchange at Tai Wai.


The stations of this line are:

Name District Connections Opening Date
East Rail
East Tsim Sha Tsui Tsim Sha Tsui Tsuen Wan Line 2004
Hung Hom Hung Hom   1974
Mong Kok Mong Kok Tsuen Wan Line
out-of-system footbridge to Mong Kok MTR station.
opened 1910, relocated 1968
Kowloon Tong Kowloon Tong Kwun Tong Line 1982
Tai Wai Sha Tin Ma On Shan Rail 1983
Sha Tin Sha Tin   1910
Fo Tan * Sha Tin   1985
Racecourse * Sha Tin   1982
University The Chinese University of Hong Kong / Ma Liu Shui   1955
Science Park Pak Shek Kok   planning
Tai Po Market Tai Po   opened 1910, relocated 1983
Tai Wo Tai Po   1989
Fanling Fanling   1910
Sheng Shui Sheung Shui   1930
Lo Wu Lo Wu   1910

*Fo Tan and Racecourse are parallel stations. Racecourse station only open on Horseracing Day at Sha Tin Racecourse or when there is a special event held there.

Full station list of KCRC lines

External link

  • Official Website of the KCR (http://www.kcrc.com)

Hong Kong KCRC Lines
East Rail | West Rail | Light Rail | Ma On Shan Rail

Transit Systems in Hong Kong
Metros (by MTR Corporation Limited):
Kwun Tong Line | Tsuen Wan Line | Island Line | Tung Chung Line | Tseung Kwan O Line
Metros/Commuter trains (by KCR Corporation):
East Rail | West Rail | Ma On Shan Rail | Lok Ma Chau Spur Line | Northern Link
Trams | Light Rail
Peak Tram
Cable car:
within Ocean Park | Tung Chung-Ngong Ping Cable Car (by MTR)
Automated train:
within passenger terminal of the Hong Kong International Airport
Escalators and Moving sidewalks:
within Ocean Park | Mid-levels Escalators
Intercity passenger and freight train services to Guangzhou, Foshan, Shanghai, Beijing, etc. (shared track with East Rail)

see also: Rail transport in Hong Kong

  Results from FactBites:
Railway Technology - Hong Kong East Rail Heavy Rail Network operated by Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation, China (1159 words)
As East Rail also carries a substantial amount of long-distance traffic between Hong Kong, Lo Wu, Shanghai and Beijing, it is regarded as an important trunk route on the Chinese railway system.
Expansion of Hong Kong's rail network is driven by a massive increase in population and business activity, not halted by the handing over of the province from British to Chinese control.
East Rail has changed from a railway serving primarily longer distance travellers going into the Mainland into a major mass transit commuter railway.
  More results at FactBites »



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