'The train is arriving’. Around 4.6million passengers every day hear these words as they get on to the MTR – the clean and efficient rail service we all know and, most of the time, love. Since its launch in 1979 the network has ferried us affordably around the city with a 99.9 percent efficiency rate and, while it has its share of rush-hour madness and the odd dog on the tracks, it’s proven so successful that other cities around the world now use the MTR as a model for their own train networks.
The MTR’s stations are all built in a similar style – but they certainly have their quirks. Choi hung (彩虹) means ‘rainbow’ in Cantonese and you’ll find rainbow patterns on the pillars in Choi Hung station. An art installation of stainless steel ‘rocks’ hangs from the ceiling in Tai Koo station and there are weekly live performances in Central. We put a poll out on our website in early March to gauge opinion on your favourite departure destination and the response was staggering. Thousands of you voted in order to rank the options, with plenty of debate over the results...
And the winner is… Central!
The most popular station in Hong Kong, according to Time Out readers, is Central – the red-tiled station that’s big, busy and slap bang in the middle of the Hong Kong Island action. Opened in 1980 by Princess Alexandra, it was originally named Chater Station and formed part of the ‘Modified Initial System’ (now known as the Kwun Tong Line), but was renamed Central in 1985 after the Island Line opened. Its Chinese name, 中環, (Central) has never changed. This sprawling station has 13 exits, which span 700m, and it sees 200,000 passengers pass through it daily. It’s also the only station to (officially) host live music and dance performances – catch these every Friday from 6pm to 6.45pm in the subway to Hong Kong station.
"Central! Interchange station for Lan Kwai Fong" - Erwin Aurella
And the loser is… Lo Wu!
Oh dear, Lo Wu. This stop, which lies at the end of the East Rail Line, is the main border control station of the HK-Mainland border. It was the least popular station among Time Out readers, with 14 times fewer ‘like’ votes than Central received. It’s probably unsurprising, however, as the border control point has been in the news regularly recently, due to protests and violent clashes as a result of concerns over Chinese parallel traders. The second least popular station on your list was the other border stop, Lok Ma Chau.
"Fucking Lo Wu" - Marcus Yung
What's your stop?
Some of our favourite comments from Time Out readers...
"Most important station in Hong Kong."
- Joe Utman
Sham Shui Po:
"Sham Shui Po for Ap Liu Street and the Golden Shopping Centre!"
- Andy Thomas
"I wonder why Prince Edward always smells like fart, anyone? Anyone?"
- AyyBee Alisha
"The true hustle and bustle of Hong Kong. Plus all the conveniences but all the shortcomings..."
- Stephen Duddridge
"Po Lam – step off the MTR and the exit gates are right there!"
- Kym Hurst
Tsim Sha Tsui:
"Tsim Sha Tsui! It makes you marvel at the great engineering of the MTR. A subway is underneath a body of water."
- Josel Orbeta Recio
Ngau Tau Kok:
"Smallest station. Minimalistic."
- Joseph Wu
Tseung Kwan O:
"The MTR blows other tubes away. Tseung Kwan O."
- Steve Zak
"KTown – nice toilet."
- Rene Guillen
"[They're] all fabulous compared to London. Quarry Bay?"
- Madame Hilaire
"North Point Station. The colour is so cool. It feels like you're in a spaceship."
- Merix Rosales Mendoza
"Cleanest station I've ever seen. And it's huge..."
- Rowena Ronquillo Arguilles Bariquit
"Causeway Bay is nice – but it does take more time to reach the train from the entrance than the journey itself!"
- Thibaut Jaubert
"Definitely not Admiralty! That stop during peak hour = hell..."
- Roger Chan
• There are currently 218km of train tracks in HK. By 2031 there will be 300km
• HKU Station, opened earlier this year, is the deepest at 70m below the ground
• The platform and train announcements have been made by the same woman – Cheri Chan – since 1992
• The $79.8billion Tai Wai to Hung Hom project has been delayed by more than 11 months after ancient relics were discovered. The cost of the archeological dig so far is $4.1billion