Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) (九廣鐵路公司) is wholly owned by the Hong KongSAR government and based in Hong Kong. It is a public corporation charged with the task of operating and developing domestic, cross-boundary and intercity railway services in a prudent commercial manner.
All of these networks are supported by feeder buses operated by Kowloon Motor Bus or KCRC itself.
KCR East Rail and Light Rail move more than one million people per day. The cross-boundary East Rail link has been KCRC's dominant revenue generator and key growth area. It is the only rail link to mainland China, capturing over 70% of all corss-border passenger traffic.
Commuters can buy tickets or use the Octopus card for fare payment. First Class compartments are available on East Rail trains.
Recently the company has introduced 20% discount for passengers using East Rail return on the same day. And the West Rail has offered a 10% discount for passengers riding on West Rail, while an extra 10% discount is offered to passengers who use the line to travel between the urban areas and New Territories.
West Rail has been opened on December 20, 2003. West Rail has been criticized by passengers with its relatively high fare, inconvenience location, and failing to connect the heart of the urban area. Due to its weak competitiveness against buses, the actual number of passengers taking West Rail is far less than expected, generating great loss to the company.
East Rail also operates intercity passenger services to Guangzhou on its own train and provides access for other intercity trains running to and from cities in the Mainland China including Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. East Rail also carries freight, mainly to and from the Mainland. KCRC generates income from property management, development and other commercial activities as well.
The Hong Kong Railway Museum in Tai Po consists of a restored station and some old trains, plus information about the history of the railway. The museum itself was the former Tai Po Market Station.
Talk of a merger between KCRC and the MTR to make the territory's transport system more efficient has been a heated topic since 2002. MTRC, which was listed in 2000 (with the government retaining a majority stake), backed a merger while government-owned KCRC opposed the plan. In March 2004, the Hong Kong government officially encouraged the two organizations to merge.
West Rail will eventually be extended to Hung Hom to link up with East Rail.
The government has also given the go-ahead for a HKD 31 billion rail project linking the suburban new town of Shatin to the Central business district. The massive expansion will more than double its network by around 2009/10.
A total of 119 Light Rail Vehicles run along Light Rail. Each vechicle can accommodate more than 200 passengers. The network has been extended with respect to the continuous developemnt of the new towns. As of 2003, the Light Rail network has a route length of 36.15 kilometres (57% more than in 1988) with 68 stops. 11 major routes run on the network. Due to an open fare system maintained by Light Rail, there are no gates or turnstiles at stops.
Light Rail has been transformed into a feeder service for West Rail after the latter's establishment. Passengers interchanging between Light Rail and West Rail can enjoy free transfers on Light Rail.