Mass Transit Railway (MTR) is the rapid transit railway system in Hong Kong. Originally opened in 1979, the system now includes 211.6 km (131.5 mi) of rail with 155 stations, including 86 railway stations and 69 light rail stops. The MTR system is currently operated by MTR Corporation Limited (MTRCL).
Under the government's rail-led transport policy, the MTR system is a common mode of public transport in Hong Kong, offering efficiency and affordability, with over four million trips made in an average weekday. As of first-half 2009, the MTR has a 42% market share of the franchised public transport market, making it the most popular transport option in Hong Kong. The integration of the Octopus smart card fare-payment technology into the MTR system in September 1997 has further enhanced the ease of commuting on the MTR.
Construction of the MTR was prompted by a government-commissioned study released in 1967. The Hong Kong Government had previously commissioned a study in the 1960s to find solutions to the growing traffic problem caused by the expansion of the territory's economy. Construction started soon after the release of the study, and the first line was opened in 1979. The MTR was immediately popular with residents of Hong Kong; as a result, subsequent lines have been built to cover more territory. There are continual debates regarding how and where to expand the MTR network.
A roundhouse is a building used by railroads for servicing locomotives. Roundhouses are large, circular or semicircular structures that were traditionally located surrounding or adjacent to turntables. The defining feature of the traditional roundhouse was the turntable, which facilitates access when the building is used for repair facilities or for storage of steam locomotives. Early steam locomotives normally travelled forwards only; although reverse operations capabilities were soon built into locomotive mechanisms, the controls were normally optimized for forward travel, and the locomotives often could not operate as well in reverse. Some passenger cars, such as observation cars, were also designed as late as the 1960s for operations in a particular direction. A turntable allowed a locomotive or other rolling stock to be turned around for the return journey.