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Table of Contents

Hong Kong East (East Rail Line)
Official Files
Start-Up Options
Other Options
Cab signalling and ATO
Route and signal notes
Workstation Notes
Kowloon Yard workstation
Workstation 1
Workstation 2
Workstation 3
Timetable Notes
Level Crossings
Multiplayer & Chaining
Hot Keys
Reference Section
Signal Number Plan
Platform, Loop & Siding Lengths
Timetabling Details
Splash Screens
Line Speeds
Fringe working
Additional Information
Version History

Hong Kong East (East Rail Line)


In memory of Max Anderson, who annoyed us a lot but made us think, and who I promised this sim would be free.

Official Files

Title Version Released
Simulation (Donationware) 1.0 01-06-2019
EAL0812W003 (0515 start) 1.1 01-06-2019

Additional user-written timetables are available to download here Link to simulation's TT download page .


Terminology note: for convenience I use the term "Hong Kong" to refer to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the term "China" (unqualified) to refer to the People's Republic of China excluding the HKSAR and, in particular, the Shenzhen region of Guangdong province, and "Chinese border" to mean the border between Hong Kong and Shenzhen sub-province. This is not meant to imply that the HKSAR is not part of the PRC.

SimSig Hong Kong East simulates the East Rail Line of the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway. As such, it largely follows UK signalling principles, though with a few odd quirks. It covers the entire line to the Chinese border.

The line was originally built between 1906 and 1910 as the British Section of the Kowloon-Canton Railway. It was a single track railway running a sparse steam (and then diesel) service. In the early 1980s it was doubled and electrified with new stations being added, resulting in significant passenger growth. The present signalling centre was opened in 1998 as part of a complete resignalling project.

The line runs a dense commuter service from central Kowloon north to two stations on the Chinese border. In addition there are "international" trains to and from China and goods trains both internal to Hong Kong and international. The running lines are bidirectional throughout though trains normally run on the left. "Up" is towards China and "Down" towards Kowloon.

The East Rail Line runs roughly north-south. The Down end of the line is at the south end, in Kowloon, and the left hand end of the simulation, while the Up end is at the north, on the border, at the right hand end of the simulation. The numbered blue marks along the top of the screen are kilometre posts (note that East Tsim Sha Tsui station has a negative chainage).

This version was written with access to official signalling plans giving track layouts, track circuit details, locations, and overlap lengths, and to interlocking tables and related data covering some, but not all, of the line. Details are therefore accurate wherever practical. However, some features of the signalling principles applying to the East Rail Line are not practical to implement in SimSig at this time and therefore have been modified or omitted.

Start-Up Options


Normal scenario

Nothing special is happening, though things like failures can still be selected.

Line blockage scenarios

There are a range of line blockage scenarios, all of which should be self-descriptive. Note that a line block may involve track work or on-track equipment, which will affect track circuits.

Bad weather scenario

No closures, but fog and slippery rails are leading to reduced braking and acceleration and, in turn, delayed trains.


There are five eras, covering the original resignalling and four major subsequent changes.


This is the layout when the current signalling was installed. At the south end the line terminated at Hung Hom. There was no Ma On Shan Railway and no Lok Mau Chau branch. This scenario, and the next two, have a reversing siding at Sheung Shui.


This adds the south-west extension from Hung Hom to East Tsim Sha Tsui. This era only operated for a few months.


This adds the Ma On Shan Railway connection, which opened a few months after the East Tsim Sha Tsui extension.


This represents the maximum extent of the East Rail Line with the opening of the Lok Mau Chau branch at the northern end, meaning trains operate to two northern termini. This is the default era and is the one used with the supplied timetable.


This is the situation after the West Rail Line was extended through East Tsim Sha Tsui to take over two platforms at Hung Hom, with the consequential rearrangement of the station throat at the latter.

Other Options

Blue aspects

See the section on the signalling.

Kowloon Yard slots

Entry to and exit from Kowloon Yard is normally governed by a set of slots; this allows these to be disabled.


There are 6 levels of general problems.

Platform closures

This adds a random platform closure (or two). Note that a closure may involve track work or on-track equipment, which will affect track circuits. The closures are divided into "easier" and "harder" ones; the user can choose the level or get one or two picked at random.


Though the real control panel is fitted with ARS and TORR, these can be turned off (independently) for extra difficulty.


Cab signalling and ATO

Most of East Rail Line's EMUs are equipped with cab signalling. This regulates the speed of trains and allows them to drive to closer headways. In particular, cab signalling allows two trains to be brought into the same section. In addition, some trains are fitted with Automatic Train Operation (ATO) which, as the name implies, drives the train automatically.

Cab signalling involves a transmitter under the front cab that communicates with receivers on or around the track; the transmitter under the rear cab is turned off. The cab signalling aspects and panel indications only activate when this communication is established. This can take a few seconds so, for example, when a train reverses direction it may be a short while before the indication changes.

There is a separate "ATO fitted" speed class for trains that understand cab signalling.

Signal aspects and indications

In real life most main signals on East Rail Line have a blue aspect as well as red, yellow, and green ones. Where a train equipped with cab signalling is signalled up to a controlled signal, that signal shows a blue aspect; this includes the signal at the end of the route, which would otherwise show red.

The following main signals do not have blue aspects:

Hung Hom 1000, 1001, 1102, 1104, 1121
Kowloon Yard 1003
Ho Tung Lau depot HTL587, HTL590
Slaughter Sidings 2420, 2422, 2453
Lo Wu Yard 2530
Lo Wu 2505, 2509, 2514, 2546, SA, SB

Whether to show blue aspects or actual signal aspects is a choice made at startup.

  • If a blue aspect is shown, the signal stem is blue rather than white when a route is set from the signal. When the signal is timing out due to approach locking, it will flash blue instead of red.
  • If blue aspects are not being displayed, the signal stem will be blue whenever the real signal would have shown a blue aspect; it is not possible to tell from the stem whether or not a route has been set from the signal. If the signal clears for an ATO train only, the signal symbol will show hollow red (in real life the signal would show blue if an ATO train is approaching and red otherwise).

If a signal is red because of approach control, trains running under ATO are not required to brake for it and so might pass the signal at red. This is not a bug.

Headway boards

There is a headway board just before the platform at most stations. These are, in effect, additional signals that only apply to trains running under cab signals (note that the physical board is fixed and does not display anything). If a train is sitting in the station, a second train running under cab signals train is allowed to pass the signal in rear and proceed as far as the headway board. When the first train clears the station (even if it is still occupying the overlap) the second train is allowed to pass the board.

On the simulation the headway board is shown in green if a cab-signalled train can pass it and red if not (this is prototypical). Every headway board is equipped with an emergency replacement facility. Trains not equipped with cab signalling will ignore the board even if it has been placed to "stop" using this facility.

Sub-blocks and follow-on mode

At some locations the actual platform is divided into sub-blocks. At these locations an ATO train is allowed to pass the headway board even when the platform is occupied; two trains are still not allowed to occupy the same sub-block and in any case are kept a short distance apart to allow for errors in the train equipment accuracy.


ARS will not set a route from a station starter for an ATO train until the train has stopped at the station; this is to prevent "read through" of blue aspects. The route can still be set manually.

(This is supposed to also happen when the station starter is automatic but this is not simulated at present.)


The line is electrified at 25 kV AC. In general goods yards are not electrified; electrification boundaries are shown as purple lines.

Route and signal notes

All lines are signalled for bidirectional running. As a result, automatic signals only clear when a route is set up to the first automatic signal in a block.

Even numbered signals apply to Down trains and odd numbered signals to Up trains. Numbers in the xx00-xx29 range are for the left hand track in the direction of running, xx30-xx59 for the right hand track, and xx61-xx99 for shunt signals. The first two digits specify the interlocking, from 10xx at Kowloon Yard and 11xx at Hung Hom to 25xx at Lo Wu and 26xx at Lok Ma Chau; East Tsim Sha Tsui is 38xx.

Warning routes

There are warning routes at various places. There are no separate yellow arrow exit buttons; warning routes are selected automatically based on track circuit occupation and points settings.

Class T routes

At some locations there are class "T" routes. These are warning routes that are only available to trains operating under ATO. In many cases a class T route is overlaid on a normal warning route with a reduced overlap, with the class T route having a shorter or even no overlap.

Calling-on routes

Calling-on routes are rarely used since the standard EMUs are 12 car units that only just fit into the station platforms. When required a separate white arrow is used at the entry point to the route; that is, the user must click on the white arrow and then the exit signal, rather than the entrance signal and then the exit signal.

Alternative routes

In some places there is more than one path through the layout between consecutive signals. This does not mean that all these routes are provided. In some cases only one route is provided, in some cases all possible routes are provided, and in others a subset (e.g. 2 out of 3) is provided. In each case, the routes provided are the same as those signalled in the real layout. There are no "via" buttons; the route is selected based on which points positions are available. In many cases there is a "preferred" route which will be used if possible irrespective of the current points positions.

Auto plates

Some signals (e.g. 1409) are automatic but do not have the usual bar across the stem; this corresponds to the real signals.

Repeater signals

Repeater signals (the equivalent of the UK's banner repeaters) consist of a single white light that is lit when the corresponding signal is off. In one case the signal being repeated is a shunt signal and the repeater consists of a pair of white lights (arranged horizontally in real life but shown vertically in the simulation because of space restrictions). In some cases the repeater also has "feathers"; these are not shown on the simulation.

In addition there are green mid-platform repeaters (unlit if the signal being repeated is on) for the down direction at Lo Wu.

Distant signals are only found on the Lok Ma Chau branch. They are conventional yellow/green signals, or show blue if the train is running under ATO.

Buffer stop lamps

Buffer stop lamps are shown as orange signals on the diagram (this is prototypical).

Stop boards

Stop boards mark the end of the signalling system's control. There are three basic kinds.

  • A simple stop board protects some sidings and storage lines. Trains will be hand-signalled past it or otherwise authorized to proceed; it is not necessary to take any action.
  • Some stop boards have two white circles painted underneath the red circle, as if displaying a red-plus-subsidiary aspect. These are "stop and proceed" boards; approaching trains will stop at the board and then proceed, driving on sight, as and when it is safe to do so.
  • Finally, two stop boards have a normal shunt signal mounted underneath, controlled by the signal operator for Ho Tung Lau depot. Trains will stop at the board and then obey the shunt signal as normal.


Shunt and calling-on overlaps

Some shunt routes, but not all, use the same overlap as main routes leading up to the same signal. In some cases an occupied overlap does not stop the signal clearing.

All calling-on routes use the same overlap as the corresponding main route, though an occupied overlap does not stop the signal clearing.

Where the overlap is allowed to be occupied, the effect of requiring an overlap is that a train cannot be signalled in the opposite direction up to a signal within the overlap or that shares part of the overlap.

Partial track-circuit overlaps

In a few places reduced overlaps extend over part of a track circuit and are indicated as such.

Delayed sectional releases

Sectional release (clearing of the white route lights) is delayed, usually by 15 seconds, when the next sub-route in order is not occupied or if this is the last track circuit before "dark" track. Therefore the route lights will clear directly behind a train but will stay lit for a while if the route is cancelled. This delay is suppressed at certain places where trains regularly reverse.


With the exception of the Ma On Shan railway, slots do not have to be granted to allow a route to be set but simply hold the appropriate signal at red until granted. This should be borne in mind as there is no indication to the signaller that they have failed to request a necessary slot.


Crossovers have separate points numbers at each end, rather than consisting of two sets of co-acting points. The standard interlocking on crossovers is described using, as an example, the crossover consisting of points 5221 on track circuit EB and points 5223 on track circuit EE, with the reverse positions forming the crossover route. Only the locking on 5221 is described; that for 5223 is equivalent.

  • All routes over 5221 normal lock 5223 normal, though the latter do not need to be detected in the correct position.
  • 5221 are locked if EB is occupied.
  • 5221 cannot be swung reverse to normal if EE is occupied unless 5223 are normal.
  • If 5223 are reversed, then when EE is occupied any signal reading over 5221 will return to danger.

At some places, such as each end of Tai Po Market, there are three sets of points in a Y shape. In this case crossover locking will apply to two of them, but not necessarily the pair that look like a crossover on the diagram.

As normal, scissors crossovers are flank locked so that only one arm of the scissors can be reversed at a time.


There are powered gates across the line at the Hung Hom international platforms, across track G13 in Kowloon Yard, and at Slaughter Sidings. There is a penalty for leaving gates open unnecessarily. Gates are shown as vertical orange lines when closed (flashing while the gates are moving) and as hollow orange track when the gates are open.

Gates are sometimes interlocked with the signalling and sometimes not.

Workstation Notes

Kowloon Yard workstation

Kowloon Yard is (or was, since it was removed in 2015) controlled by a separate local panel. In the simulation it is a separate workstation.

Signal 1080 will only clear when the points between it and signal 1082 are normal and a train is standing at one of the two signals. For the route to signal 1068 the level crossing must of course also be down and clear.

The "Train Appr." light indicates that the track circuits approaching the yard entrance are occupied with the relevant points set to allow them into the yard.

Slots must be requested to send trains into the three loco roads or the Five Hectare Development.

Yard entry/exit slots

There are 6 separate slots involved in the junction between the main lines and Kowloon yard. These fall into three groups of two, each of which work in a different way.

For moves into the yard, the workstation 1 signaller presses the slot button next to shunt signal 1171 or between running signals 1112 and 1134, as appropriate. The yard signaller presses their slot button next to the berth on the hollow tracks (the berth contents are only displayed when the appropriate slot is lit) which will cause both slot lights to become steadily lit. The workstation 1 signaller can then set the route into the yard. The slot will cancel when any route is set from the relevant signal or if right-clicked by either signaller.

For moves out of the yard, the yard signaller presses the slot button next to shunt signal 1082 or running signal 1003 as appropriate. The workstation 1 signaller can then set the route out of the yard. The slot will cancel when any route is set from the relevant signal. The yard signaller, but not the main line one, can cancel the slot by right-clicking.

The crossover points are usually locked normal. The workstation 1 signaller can request them to be unlocked by pressing the slot button next to the crossover. The yard signaller can unlock them in the same way. Either signaller can cancel the lock. The lock prevents the points being reversed but does not prevent a reverse-to-normal action.

Workstation 1

Workstation 1 covers the section from Kowloon to Tai Wai station, except for Kowloon Yard. In some eras this includes the connection to the Ma On Shan Railway.

East Tsim Sha Tsui

The line was extended southwest in 2004 to a new terminus at East Tsim Sha Tsui. In 2009 this section was transferred to the West Rail Line.

Hung Hom

Hung Hom is the southern terminus of the line in many eras and the terminus for international services in all of them. There are two different layouts, one in use up to 2009 and one after that.

Given the enclosed space (the station is underground), a traverser is used to release locomotives from incoming trains. It is controlled by a separate panel which is released in the normal way (on the panel, "west" is towards platform 5 and "east" towards the mail siding). The traverser must be locked in position before a train can move on or off it. Routes into platforms 5 and 6 are approach-released unless the frame is normal with the traverser locked in place at that platform; conversely, if such a route is set with a free yellow then the frame cannot be released until the route locking times out. The traverser is electrified and can therefore carry electric locomotives. It is 21 metres long. The "occupied" light on the control panel will be steady red if the traverser is occupied but able to move and will flash if the occupying train is not properly on it.

The train descriptor for the traverser and signals 1000 and 1001 is not prototypical. Descriptions do not always step when you expect; this may change in future releases.

The international platforms are surrounded by a security fence with gates that must be opened to allow trains in and out. The north gates are not interlocked with outgoing routes (the driver can see them) but are interlocked with incoming routes. The south gates (at the traverser end) are not interlocked at all. There is a penalty for failing to keep the gates closed unless necessary. Right-clicking on the green circle beside the label will pop-up the lever frame for the gates.

In the 2009-2013 era, platform 3 is used by West Rail Line trains. Trains are not shown as occupying this platform unless making moves to or from the East Rail Line. Routes into platform 7 use signal 1162, not the stop board, as the exit point.

Kowloon Yard Junction

See above for instructions on the slotting arrangements.

Ho Man Tin

Ho Man Tin sidings were the unloading point for livestock being brought into Kowloon and central Hong Kong.

Trains from the north are normally signalled in from 1234 to the yard entrance; those from the south reverse at signal 1186. Note that the slot must be requested for these signals to clear. Trains will enter the yard under the authority of the local shunter without further intervention. Also note the repeater for 1186 before tunnel 1A.

Mong Kok

(Note: when the East Rail Line was merged into the MTR in 2007, this station was renamed "Mong Kok East" to avoid confusion with another station on another MTR line. The old name is used in all eras of the sim.)

There is no exit signal for the Up Loop Neck: trains are just reversed and proceed directly out.

The small freight yard at Mong Kok is hand-signalled; this is simulated by a lever frame. Right-clicking on the green circle beside the yard will pop-up the ground frame. The three push buttons handsignal a train past the three stop boards; there is no visible indication that this has been done. They only have an effect if a train is stopped at the relevant stop board.

Beacon Hill tunnel

Only 5 trains are allowed in Beacon Hill tunnel at a time. If there are 5 trains in the tunnel or signalled to enter it, ARS will not set further routes into the tunnel.

Trains should not enter Beacon Hill in the same direction less than 132 seconds apart. A penalty will be assessed if this is violated. ARS will delay setting routes to enforce this gap.

For technical reasons related to this, signals 1408 and 1440 report as being in Beacon Hill interlocking rather than their actual location of Tai Wai interlocking.

Tai Wai

As well as being a station on the East Rail Line, since 2004 Tai Wai has been the southern terminus of a separate Mass Transit Railway line: the Ma On Shan Railway ("MOSR"). There is a connection between the two lines for stock transfer purposes consisting of a single headshunt. Trains from the East Rail Line to MOSR should be signalled up to the "Limit of Movement Authority" board. If the train has ATO and is timetabled to MOSR, it will then move on to the spur under the control of MOSR signallers; all other trains to MOSR must be instructed to pass 1461 at danger. Trains from MOSR will need to be signalled from 1461 to 1457 in the normal way.

The state of MOSR headway boards is not displayed; they show as plain white.

The slot must be given before the points on the Down Line can be reversed.

Workstation 2

Workstation 2 covers the section from Tai Wai station to just south of Tai Po Market station, including the Racecourse loop and access to Ho Tung Lau depot.

Tai Wai

Workstation 2 is not involved with the MOSR connection, but should be aware that there are special controls on signal 1420 when the connection is in use.

Sha Tin

Routes into the Siding and Through Siding need to be set using the signal at the exit from the siding, not the stop board at the entrance. Even though the signal is a ground shunt a main route will be set. The train will stop at the board at the entrance to the siding then proceed under the local shunter's authority with no further intervention. The overlap will drop after the train has entered the siding or on a timeout.

Fo Tan

Be aware that ARS has difficulties with the overlaps at each end of platform 2/3 and can delay trains as a result.

Oil / Dry Goods sidings

Trains can be signalled into the sidings from 1622 and 1678 signals.

Ho Tung Lau depot

This is the only full depot for the entire line. There are 8 separate entrances and exits for the depot. 6 of them can be reached directly from the running lines, while the other two (numbers 4 and 7) are only used for transfers within the depot. There are therefore two sets of slots. Those labelled "ENT." are required to signal a train into the depot from the running lines. Those labelled with a signal number are required to signal a train from that signal to the next depot entrance.

Racecourse Traffic Sidings

These sidings have been re-used as the Fo Tan Pway Depot. The simulation uses the old name throughout.

Unusually, a route cannot be set into the sidings if the slot has been requested; the route must be set and then the slot requested.

Racecourse Junction

The "Racecourse Junction" location is signals 1615 and 1647 in the Up direction and 1626 and 1644 in the Down direction. The "reverse" location should be used to reverse trains Up to Down at 1626 or 1644. There is no separate location on the Racecourse branch.

Workstation 3

Workstation 3 covers the section from just south of Tai Po Market station to Lo Wu and the border plus, in some eras, the Lok Ma Chau branch.

Tai Po Market

When the line was doubled and electrified in the early 1980s, the original Tai Po Market station was closed. The line was diverted slightly west of it and a new station was opened further south. The original station was developed into the Hong Kong Railway Museum.

Trains into the museum must be signalled in the normal way. The lever frame must be used to set the points into the museum proper then, once the train is on the crossover, the "Enter" handsignal can be given. Right-clicking on the green circle beside the museum will pop-up the frame. Because the track is used so rarely and so track circuits can't be trusted, the subroute into the sidings is released by an acceptance plunger operated by the train staff when the train is completely past signal 2078. Unfortunately the staff aren't always in a hurry to give the release.

Trains ready to leave the museum can be given a handsignal to move up to signal 2078, after which they can be signalled normally.

As well as the museum proper, there is a short (about 20 metres) siding that vehicles can be stored in. Again, trains ready to depart can be given a handsignal to move up to signal 2078.

Sheung Shui

Until the Lok Ma Chau branch was added, there was a reversing siding north of the station. This needed to be removed as part of the track rearrangement for the new branch.

Signals 2407 and 2441 cannot show a shunt aspect in eras with the branch, but still have the (unused) subsidiary head.

Slaughter Sidings

The sidings are the site of an abbatoir (hence the alternative name), although they are also used for storing rolling stock.

The stop boards that mark the limit of movement authority for Up movements into the southern half of the sidings (and so must be passed to enter the northern half) are called "G2 SB" and "G3 SB", while those that mark the limit of movement authority for Down movements into the northern half (and so must be passed to enter the southern half) are called "G2 SB(N)" and "G3 SB(N)".

Workstation 3 only works routes into and out of the sidings. Moves within the sidings, and also the gates, are controlled by two "Local Control Posts".

When LCP2 takes control, trains entering G2 from the Sheung Shui direction will stop before the points to G1 and must be handsignalled over them. When it is not in control, they will proceed all the way to the stop board. When LCP3 takes control, trains departing towards Lo Wu on G3 will stop clear of the converging points until handsignalled over them.

Lo Wu Marshalling Yard

The yard is mostly not electrified, but does contain two electrified tracks, each of which can hold two full-length EMUs.

The yard is operated from a local control panel near the south entrance. Right-clicking on the green circle above the centre of the yard will pop-up the lever frame.

The slots for entry are granted and cancelled by the LCP operator. These slots are required for all moves into the yard, including on to the EMU storage tracks. The five stop boards each have a subsidiary signal operated by the LCP; note that these are not interlocked in any way and their aspects are not indicated on the panel. At the north end, signal 2580 is dual-controlled: the routes to the EMU storage tracks are set by the Workstation 3 signaller (clicking on the mid-way stop boards), while the route into the main yard is set by the LCP operator. At the south end, the routes from the stop board are all set by the LCP operator. The routes from the south spur and the engine shed into the yard are set by the Workstation 3 signaller but require the LCP operator to first set the points in the correct position and also to release the slot before the signal can clear.

Lo Wu

Signals 2501 and 2533 on the Up approach to Lo Wu only have a maximum aspect of single yellow.

Shenzhen connection

A tokenless block system is used on each of the two tracks into Shenzhen. At present this is not simulated; instead, a slot is used for each track. The slot will be requested by Shenzhen when a train wants to enter. Trains cannot be signalled towards Shenzhen on a track where the slot has been granted.

Signals 2505, 2509, 2514, and 2546 just on the Lo Wu side of the border only have a maximum aspect of single yellow.

The white arrows at the border are exits for shunt routes up to but not across the border. Drivers will refuse to cross the border unless given a main route.

Siemens locomotives are forbidden from entering China for legal reasons. As a result, there is a special "Siemens" speed class.

Lok Ma Chau

The Lok Ma Chau branch was added in 2007.

Both Lo Wu and Lok Ma Chau stations lie in the "closed area" near the border; passengers can only leave the station if they are crossing into China or have an appropriate permit for the area. At each station there is a double-decked footbridge across the Sham Chun river to Futian (from Lok Ma Chau) and Luohu (from Lo Wu) stations on the Shenzhen metro.

Kwu Tung is a proposed future station on the Lok Ma Chau branch. A station cavern was excavated as the branch was built but there is no platform or station building.

Timetable Notes

MTR working timetables are written to one-second precision, not minute or half-minute. Therefore users should enable the "Timetables 1 second precision" option in F3.

East Rail Line headcodes are either one letter followed by three digits or two letters followed by two digits. The letters indicate the route and stopping pattern of the train; the digits create a unique train number. Up trains have odd numbers and down trains even numbers. The route letters in 2009 were as follows:

A East Tsim Sha Tsui - Sha Tin all stations
B East Tsim Sha Tsui - Lok Ma Chau all stations via Racecourse
C East Tsim Sha Tsui - Fo Tan all stations
D East Tsim Sha Tsui - Tai Po Market all stations via Fo Tan
E Mong Kok - Tai Po Market all stations via Fo Tan
F Hung Hom - Tai Po Market all stations via Fo Tan
G East Tsim Sha Tsui - Tai Po Market all stations via Racecourse
H East Tsim Sha Tsui - Sheung Shui all stations via Fo Tan
J Hung Hom - Sheung Shui all stations via Fo Tan
K East Tsim Sha Tsui - Sheung Shui all stations via Racecourse
L East Tsim Sha Tsui - Lok Ma Chau all stations via Fo Tan
M East Tsim Sha Tsui - Lo Wu all stations via Fo Tan
N East Tsim Sha Tsui - Lo Wu all stations via Racecourse
P Electric intercity through train
R East Tsim Sha Tsui - Racecourse all stations
S Special train including Lo Wu Express
T Empty electric train
VF Diesel-hauled freight train
VL Ho Tung Lau Depot - Hung Hom Freight Terminal
VT Diesel locomotive hauled through train
VW Diesel locomotive hauled works train
VZ Light locomotive
X MOSR train
Y MOSR train
Z MOSR train


This is the normal timetable that applied starting 2009-07-01, with no racecourse trains. The main movements are:

Metro service

A frequent service of EMUs; most run between East Tsim Sha Tsui and one of the two northern termini, though there are a few short turns. All trains run via Fo Tan except empty stock to and from Ho Tung Lau.

Intercity through trains

12 trains run each way daily between Hung Hom and Guangzhou (Zhaoqing in one case) in mainland China. These need to use the secure platforms at Hung Hom and do not stop within Hong Kong except to change drivers at Lo Wu.

Long-distance through trains

One train runs each way daily between Hung Hom and either Shanghai or Beijing. These also need to use the secure platforms at Hung Hom and do not stop within Hong Kong except to change drivers at Lo Wu.

Local freight

A few freight trains run between Kowloon Yard, the Oil / Dry Goods Sidings, Sha Tin sidings, and Lo Wu Marshalling Yard.

Train VF16 runs in a number of variants. With a light or medium load it has a loco at each end; with a heavy load it is double headed. The front loco always runs light from Sha Tin to Kowloon Yard, leaving the rear loco to take the train (possibly in two parts) to the Oil / Dry Goods Sidings.

Livestock wagons

There are three moves taking livestock wagons from Lo Wu Marshalling Yard to Slaughter Sidings and then back again.

Cross-boundary goods

There are 8 goods wagons train, plus the mail train, each way between Lo Wu Marshalling Yard and Shenzhen.

Dongguan Container Block Train

This is a train from Lo Wu Marshalling Yard that runs when required.

Light engines

There are a few light engine moves.

ARS is not good at handling trains that conflict with other trains that haven't yet entered. For example, in this timetable it will set a route for T808 (seeded at Sha Tin) towards Tai Wai even though T806 (due to enter from the depot) needs to go ahead of it. This is a "feature" of real ARS; the only solution is to be aware of these cases and hold the train back in some way (make it non-ARS or collar an appropriate signal).

Level Crossings

All three level crossings involve roads serving railway facilities rather than public roads and therefore see low levels of road traffic. The crossings must be raised and lowered by hand; there are no auto-raise or auto-lower facilities. The crossings are normally down and therefore will lower themselves at the start of the simulation (the user still needs to press the "clear" button).
Name Type Panel Located Between
Ho Tung Lau CCTV Workstation 2 Fo Tan Junction and Racecourse
Kowloon Yard CCTV Kowloon Yard In yard throat
Lo Wu Yard CCTV Workstation 3 Slaughter Sidings and yard south end

In real life the level crossing at Lo Wu is operated by the local control panel but, for technical reasons, it is currently operated by Workstation 3 and not the ground frame.

Multiplayer & Chaining

The simulation should be playable in both single and multiplayer. There are a fair number of ground frame activities which will therefore require an involved host.

The simulation does not chain to any others.

Hot Keys

In addition to the standard shortcut keys , the following are available:

Key Panel Area
1 Hung Hom
2 Mong Kok
3 Tai Wai
4 Sha Tin
5 Fo Tan / Racecourse
6 Tai Po Market
7 Hong Lok Yuen
8 Sheung Shui
9 Lo Wu / Lok Ma Chau


Simulation by: Clive D.W. Feather

EAL0812W003 WTT by: Clive D.W. Feather

As ever, my thanks to Geoff and Mike for teaching me how to write simulations, to all the people who provided information, and to the beta testers.

Reference Section

Signal Number Plan

The last two digits of signal numbers identify the signal type and the track it is on:

01 to 29 Running signal on left hand track or loop or siding to the left
30 to 59 Running signal on right hand track or loop or siding to the right
60 to 99 Shunt signal

Odd numbers are up signals and even numbers down signals. For each of these three groups and each direction, numbers increase heading north (up).

The first two digits of signal numbers give the physical area the signal is in:

10xx Kowloon Yard
11xx Hung Hom
12xx Mong Kok
13xx Kowloon Tong
14xx Tai Wai
15xx Sha Tin
16xx Fo Tan
17xx Racecourse branch
18xx University
19xx Pak Shek Kok
20xx Tai Po Market
21xx Tai Wo
22xx Hong Lok Yuen
23xx Fanling
24xx Sheung Shui and Slaughter Sidings
25xx Lo Wu
26xx Lok Ma Chau branch
38xx East Tsim Sha Tsui branch

Platform, Loop & Siding Lengths

Platform Lengths

Location Platform Length (m)
East Tsim Sha Tsui 1 297 Overrun of 72
East Tsim Sha Tsui 2 298 Overrun of 73
Fanling 1 317
Fanling 2 321
Fo Tan 1 319
Fo Tan 2 308
Fo Tan 4 317
Hung Hom 1 320
Hung Hom 2 312
Hung Hom 3 306
Hung Hom 4 300 Old layout
Hung Hom 4 314 New layout
Hung Hom 5 341
Hung Hom 6 342
Hung Hom 7 344 Old layout
Hung Hom 7 319 New layout
Kowloon Tong 1 305
Kowloon Tong 2 306
Lok Mau Chau 1 299 Overrun of 60
Lok Mau Chau 2 299 Overrun of 61
Lo Wu 1 304
Lo Wu 4 321
Mong Kok 1 297
Mong Kok 2 351
Mong Kok 3 314
Racecourse 1 300
Racecourse 2 319
Sheung Shui 1 316
Sheung Shui 2 315
Sha Tin 1 317
Sha Tin 2 345
Sha Tin 3 345
Sha Tin 4 343
Tai Po Market 1 308
Tai Po Market 2 309
Tai Po Market 4 306
Tai Wai 1 306
Tai Wai 2 325
Tai Wo 1 303
Tai Wo 2 307
University 1 315
University 2 313

All distances are signal-to-signal except for terminating platforms, where the end of the usable length has been estimated from scheme plans. At East Tsim Sha Tsui and Lok Mau Chau there is an overrun section beyond this point.

Loop and Siding Lengths

Location Loop Name Length (m)
Hung Hom Mail Siding 78
Hung Hom Traverser 21
Kowloon Yard Arr./Dep. 41 1003 to 1074
Kowloon Yard Back road 50 1089 clear of crossover
Kowloon Yard G2 396
Kowloon Yard G10 318
Kowloon Yard G12 318
Kowloon Yard G13 345
Kowloon Yard G15 317
Kowloon Yard Neck 22 Behind 1080
Kowloon Yard Neck 127 Behind 1082
Kowloon Yard S1A 99
Kowloon Yard Loco S1 78
Kowloon Yard Loco S2 79
Lo Wu Through road 227 2542 to 2509
Lo Wu Through road 437 2580 to 2509
Lo Wu Sidings G1 north 301
Lo Wu Sidings G1 south 298
Lo Wu Sidings G2 north 301
Lo Wu Sidings G2 south 298
Lo Wu Yard Engine 76
Lo Wu Yard Spur 143
Mong Kok Freight Yard G2 78
Mong Kok Freight Yard G3 173
Mong Kok Through Siding 107
Mong Kok Through Siding neck 16
Mong Kok Up Loop Neck 358 Behind 1265
MOSR connection Behind 1461 756
MOSR connection Behind stop board 350
Racecourse Traffic sidings neck 116
Sha Tin Siding 274
Sha Tin Siding neck 77
Sha Tin Through Siding 277
Sha Tin Up loop neck 78
Sheung Shui Siding 297 Old layout
Slaughter Sidings G1 270
Slaughter Sidings G2 north 215
Slaughter Sidings G2 south 239 To clearing point
Slaughter Sidings G2 south 304 To stop board
Slaughter Sidings G3 north 233 To clearing point
Slaughter Sidings G3 north 297 To 2453
Slaughter Sidings G3 south 291
Tai Po Market Museum siding 22

All numbers are signal to signal or equivalent and do not allow standing room for trains.

Yard Capacities

Location Capacity Max. Length (m)
Five Hectare Development 2560 760
Ho Man Tin 343 150
Kowloon Yard G3-8 1300 350
Kowloon Yard G17/18 1120 400 at main end, 350 at traverser end
Lo Wu Marshalling Yard 3649 780 south end, 612 north end
Oil/Dry Goods sidings 515 265
Racecourse T.S. 1500 400
Railway museum 410 100

Ho Tung Lau depot is not capacity-tracked.

Timetabling Details

The timetable location "Five Hectare Development" is also included in "Kowloon Goods Yard".

The timetable location "Hung Hom International" is Hung Hom platforms 5 and 6 only, but these are also included in "Hung Hom".

Trains using the MOSR connection should be timetabled to "MOSR Spur" (left of the two stop boards) or "MOSR Junction".

There are separate timetable locations for Ho Tung Lau entrances 1 and 8 to allow trains within the depot to be reversed in the entrance neck.

The timetable location "Slaughter Sidings" is for the sidings themselves, while "Slt.Sdgs. through lines" is for the Up and Down lines passing the sidings.

Special Decisions


Code Scenario
[NSC!NCKTU] Kowloon Tong Up blockage
[NSC!NCKTD] Kowloon Tong Down blockage
[NSC!NCRAC] Racecourse blockage
[NSC!NCFOT] Fo Tan north blockage
[NSC!NCFAN] Fanling blockage [NSC!NCFANU] Up line blocked
[NSC!NCFAND] Down line blocked
[NSC!NCCHT] Chau Tau tunnel blockage [NSC!NCCHTU] Up line blocked
[NSC!NCCHTUX] Up line and crossover blocked
[NSC!NCCHTD] Down line blocked
[NSC!NCCHTDX] Down line and crossover blocked
[NSC!NCLOW] Lo Wu approach blockage [NSC!NCLOWU] Up line blocked
[NSC!NCLOWD] Down line blocked
[NSC!NCLWY] Lo Wu Yard entrance blockage [NSC!NCLWYS] South entrance blocked
[NSC!NCLWYN] North entrance blocked
[NSC!NCSZB] Shenzhen Line B closed
[NSC!NSTORM] Bad weather

Eras and layouts

[NSC!NOLD] 1998-2004 (no ETS, LMC, or MOSR)
[NSC!NETS] 2004 (ETS extension, pre-MOSR)
[NSC!NMOS] 2004-2007 (ETS extension and MOSR link, no LMC branch)
[NSC!NLMC] 2007-2009 (default; maximum layout)
[NSC!NWRL] 2009-2013 (West Rail taken over ETS extension)
[NSC!NHH1] Hung Hom new layout (platform 1, international line into throat)
[NSC!NHH2] Hung Hom old layout (platforms 2 and 3)
[NSC!NETSB] East Tsim Sha Tsui branch present
[NSC!NSSRS] Sheung Shui reversing siding present
[NSC!NLMCB] Lok Mau Chau branch present
[NSC!NMOSR] MOSR connection at Tai Wai present



Splash Screens

01 Kowloon Yard control panel. Note that the layout is inverted compared with the sim (which matches the main control centre). The screens are views of the yard (e.g. the bottom right one appears to show the gates from somewhere between 1063 and 1091 signals).

02 Ho Man Tin sidings.

03 Repeater signal at Mong Kok platform 3, showing the off aspect.

04 Mong Kok platform 1 line and the goods yard entrance.

05 The MOSR connection at Tai Wai. Note the LNER-style cut-out speed limit signs.

06 An up international train gets a single yellow at signal 1419, Tai Wai.

07 Stop board at Sha Tin; the white lamps are the backlights from signals 1755 and 1759.

08 Signal 1759 (Sha Tin siding). The black and yellow stripes mark one end of an ATO beacon just visible between the rails.

09 Fo Tan Junction looking towards Hung Hom. The main signal is 1608, though the rear of 1761 is visible on the extreme left.

10 Close-up of signal HTL587 at Ho Tung Lau depot entrance 1.

11 The original Tai Po Market station, now part of the railway museum with the running lines diverted to the west.

12 Traditional signalling at the museum.

13 Headway boards are usually hard to see because of their locations, but this blurred shot of H2135 was just possible at full zoom from the north end of the museum.

14 Signal 2407 at Sheung Shui is clear for an EMU to Lok Ma Chau.

15 Signal 2407 at Sheung Shui is clear for an international train heading to China.

16 That international train approaches 2407 while a down EMU is about to depart for Hung Hom.

17 View across the border bridge from Lo Wu station with international trains in both directions standing at Shenzhen station. The red signal beside the bridge is SB in the simulation. The blue lights are ground signals.

18 Lo Wu yard north end from a passing EMU (the black and yellow stripes at left are a reflection in the window). The points behind the electrification mast are number 816, where G1 and G2 sidings diverge.

19 Locomotive on the traverser having detached from a train in platform 5; signal 1102 is visible to the left.

20 Ho Tung Lau level crossing (photographed from Fo Tan station). The tracks are, from nearest to furthest, depot entrance 1, Up Branch, and Down Branch. When the picture was taken the Racecourse loop was under a possession.

Line Speeds

All speeds in the simulation are reported in km/h, not mph.

The main speed limits are:

East Tsim Sha Tsui to Hung Hom 65 km/h
Hung Hom station 45 km/h
Hung Hom to Kowloon Tong 80 km/h
Kowloon Tong to south of Tai Wai 120 km/h
Tai Wai to Fo Tan 90 km/h
Racecourse loop 70 km/h
Fo Tan to University 80 to 110 km/h
University station 55 km/h
University to Sheung Shui 80 to 120 km/h
Lok Ma Chau branch 85 to 115 km/h
Sheung Shui to Lo Wu 120 km/h
Lo Wu station and the link to China 40 km/h

In general the speed limit within yards is 22 km/h but with 40 km/h allowed on the approach. The exceptions are Abbatoir Sidings, which are limited to 35 km/h, and Kowloon Goods Yard, Museum Sidings, and Lo Wu Yard, which are all limited to 10 km/h (in addition, the approach to Museum Sidings is 35 km/h). Crossovers between the running lines are typically slightly slower than the running line (e.g. 70 km/h in an 80 km/h area). Leads into and out of platform loops are typically 50 km/h, as is the Ma On Shan connection.

As well as these general limits, trains are required to obey specific limits when passing the headwall at some stations. Typically these limits are 22 km/h for EMUs, 60 km/h for other passenger trains, and 40 km/h for goods trains.


TRTS is fitted at the following platforms:

Up direction
Station Platforms
East Tsim Sha Tsui Both
Hung Hom 1 to 6
Mong Kok 1 only
Down direction
Station Platforms
Sha Tin 2 to 4
Fo Tan 3 and 4
Racecourse Both
Tai Po Market 3 and 4
Slaughter Sidings G2 and G3 south
Lo Wu 1 and 4
Lok Ma Chau Both

Fringe working

At any of the places where a train can enter, the fringe box or shunter can be told that the line is blocked by putting any of the special codes BLOK, SHUT, POSS, *T1*, *T2*, or *T3* into the relevant train describer berth.

  • trains at Kowloon Goods G17 or G18 will be switched to the other track;
  • trains at Oil/Dry Goods sidings will be switched to Racecourse T.S.;
  • trains at Ho Tung Lau will be switched to another entrance;
  • trains at Lo Wu Yard will be switched to the other entrance;
  • trains from Shenzhen will be switched to the other track;
  • all other trains will be held until the blockage clears.

Additional Information

Some, but not all, control tables were available for developing this simulation. Therefore there are places where the exact behaviour had to be guessed and might not match reality. However, there are no missing or added routes.

Work is currently in progress to extend the Ma On Shan line to Hung Hom where it will connect end-on to the existing West Rail Line (which currently terminates at Hung Hom) to form a new Tuen Ma line. Meanwhile the East Rail Line will be diverted into new platforms underground and extended south to Admiralty station on Hong Kong island.

Version History

Version History

Last edited by clive on 03/07/2019 at 09:58