MTR Corp exhibition in Hong Kong tracks history of trains, equipment and staff of rail operator

They include the “I. B. Trevor” – a diesel-electric locomotive; a midlife refurbishment “MLR” train, also known as the “Fly Head” for its resemblance to the insect; and a first-generation electric train known as the “Yellow Head”.

One train enthusiast has said he hopes the exhibition can become a long-running one if it proves popular with the public. Photo: Elson Li

Train enthusiast Aaron Kei Chun-on, who runs the Facebook page “Train Not Arriving”, said he was most excited to see the Yellow Head train, which has only made a handful of public appearances since its retirement in 1999.

“I last saw it several years ago, but back then, there were still areas that needed repair,” he said. “This time, I can see a lot of the details have been fully renovated, so you can really feel the [MTR Corp’s] sincerity in showcasing the best side of these long-retired trains.”

He added there were hopes the exhibition could become a long-running one if it proved popular, since the area where the trains would be displayed was once home to the Intercity Through Trains that once ran from Hong Kong to the mainland Chinese cities of Dongguan, Guangzhou, Beijing and Shanghai.

Part of the exhibition marking the MTR Corp’s 45 years of service. Photo: Elson Li

The services were reportedly effectively terminated due to the Covid-19 pandemic in January 2020, although there was no official confirmation for the reason for the cessation.

Since these services have now largely been replaced by the high-speed trains operating from the West Kowloon terminus, and there were no signs authorities planned on bringing them back, Kei said there was room for the exhibition to go from “temporary to permanent”.

Another exhibition area is Zone 1, titled “Decoding Rail”, which offers a close-up look at lesser-known aspects of train operations, including signal lights, mechanical parts and train signs throughout history.

MTR fare adjustment formula should include broader profits: Hong Kong lawmakers

The displays included Swiss Rado clocks, staples in early MTR stations, alongside the caesium frequency standard clocks from the same maker, which the company said were “at the heart of the railway’s time system to provide uniform time reporting”.

Zone 2 titled “Years on the Rail” has a more human touch, offering stories of the people who worked at the company, as well as the passengers who took the trains.

One of those featured is Winnie Mang Siu-mei, who joined the company in 1979 as a public relations assistant, before transitioning to the role of Shek Kip Mei station officer, where she stayed until her retirement in 2023.

Hong Kong MTR passengers face fare rises of 3% in June

She recalled first joining the railway operator and being required to wear a bright red uniform.

“Back then, they were introducing a new system, and wanted to hire some girls in bright clothes so passengers would know to ask them for help if they didn’t understand anything,” she said. “That is how I first joined the company.”

The public must first make a reservation online to view the exhibition, and bookings open at 10am on Saturday. Reservations can be made up to 30 days ahead of time, with each visit lasting for 75 minutes. Each session has a maximum capacity of 100 people.


This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.