Fans bid farewell to HK’s fly-headed trains

There was much fanfare along the East Rail Line on Friday as hundreds of people bade farewell to a model of train that has served Hong Kong for four decades but is now being replaced.

The 12-carriage Mid-Life Refurbishment (MLR) trains, nicknamed “fly-headed trains”, have been transporting passengers between Kowloon and Hong Kong’s border with Shenzhen.

One of them made a special trip from Hung Hom Station to Sha Tin before its retirement, with fans gathered on platforms cheering and waving as it passed by.

“This train has a vintage feel to it…but there’s nothing we can do as it’s a process of the change of times,” said a man surnamed Chan, who said he felt sad to see the retirement of the model.

Another fan, a man surnamed Wong, said he had taken the train with his family many times.

“I had been taking this train since my childhood, since I grew up in the New Territories… so I have lots of memories,” he said.

Wong said passengers will miss the seating arrangement on the train.

Some fans sang a birthday song, as the fly-headed train was commissioned on this day in 1982.

The MLR model was a refurbished version of its predecessor – the First Generation Electric Multiple Unit Train.

Some parts of the decommissioned trains will be recycled, the MTR Corporation said.

The fleet is being replaced by nine-carriage trains for the launch of the cross-harbour section of the East Rail Line on May 15.