Thanks to EssExTee for the invite. I’m a car guy but like anyone else I have side gigs and mine is modern trains (and a bit of buses). My first post will be about my favourite rolling stock in Hong Kong’s MTR network, the SP1900.
Introduced in 2002 on the former KCR network, these were built by Itochu, Kinki Sharyo and Kawasaki using the JR E231 architecture.
Obvious differences from Japanese domestic rolling stock are the standard track gauge, the tapered upper body, the rounded nose and the protruding sliding doors.
The SP1900 fleet today serves as 12-car EMU sets on the East Rail Line and 8-car sets on the West Rail and Ma On Shan lines. These train lengths will soon change as the MTR network is currently realigning its routes across Hong Kong.
To maximise capacity, seating is minimal and door count is 5 per side per car. Capacity is 52 seated and 286 standing, per car. The SP1900 is unusually smooth and quiet for an urban metro train, with a very pleasant acceleration noise.
The historic but still heavily used East Rail Line is the only remaining metro line in Hong Kong without platform barriers, allowing full viewing pleasure of the trains. Opened in 1910, it formed part of the original Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR). Today it’s fully absorbed into the MTR network, which serves 5 million passengers daily—a figure made more impressive by the modest total track length of 130 miles.