Several future projects on the MTR have been put forward by the MTR Corporation to the Hong Kong Government, with some already under construction.
With the rail merger with the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation in 2007, the combined network increased to 211.6 kilometres (131.5 mi) and 84 stations. Committed and future railway projects will increase the network to over 270 kilometres (170 mi) by 2019 and 98 stations while the rest of the projects may further increase it to over 540 kilometres (340 mi).
East Rail Line (former KCR British Section) has been operating for more than one century. MTR has decided to renew 11 (above ground) stations on the system except the newest built ones. Refurbishment will be carried out under the motifs of nature and environmental protection. This project is expected to be complete in 2016.
On 21 January 2003, the Executive Council of Hong Kong granted MTR Corporation Limited permission to proceed with further planning on two proposed lines: West Island Line and South Island Line. These new lines are suggested in the Second Railway Development Study (RDS-2) to provide direct links between the residential areas of Wah Fu and Ap Lei Chau in Southern District and the CBD of Hong Kong. This is the first project within the MTR that serves the Southern District.
Three proposals were previously submitted, each addressing the drawbacks of the prior plan. In this planning stage a feasibility study was conducted to optimize the new lines in terms of cost-effectiveness, external benefits and the effect on other modes of transport. The plan was eventually turned down by the government in favour of constructing highways in late March 2004. The MTRC's fourth proposal was given in February 2005. This consisted of West Island Line extending the Island Line to Kennedy Town, South Island Line (East) from Admiralty to Ap Lei Chau and South Island Line (West) that connects the previous two lines. Legislative Councillors support an earlier completion of West Island Line. The West Island Line was finally approved by the HKSAR Government on 30 June 2005.
The South Island Line (East) opened on 28 December 2016.
Plans for the South Island Line (West) is mentioned and revised in the 2014 governmental railway strategy report and an "implementation window" of 2021 to 2026 was identified.
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation won the bid to build and operate the Sha Tin to Central Link in 2002. The KCRC announced modification to the proposal. An 11 km Tai Wai to Hung Hom section connecting the Ma On Shan Line with the Kowloon Southern Link which connects to the West Rail Line will form the East-west Line while a 6 km cross-harbour section extending the East Rail Line to Hong Kong Island will form the North-South Line.
The project now belongs to the MTR after the 2007 rail merger. The section of the Sha Tin to Central Link between Tai Wai and Hung Hom is expected to open in 2019, and the remaining cross-harbour section in 2021.
The Hong Kong Section of the Express Rail Link (XRL) will be a 26 km long underground high-speed rail linking Hong Kong with the national express rail network. The journey time to Guangzhou and Beijing will be reduced to 48 minutes and 10 hours respectively. A terminus will be located under the West Kowloon Cultural District and parallel to the West Kowloon Station. The high-speed rail will not share its tracks with the West Rail Line and the Northern Link. The tracks are designed to support future operations which include frequent services and linking Hong Kong with other Chinese major cities at 250–350 km/h.
The proposal was submitted by MTR in June 2007 and funding of the Hong Kong Section was subject to furious debate in the Legislative Council. The final decision was made on 15 January 2010, when the Legislative Council approved HK$66.9 billion (US$8.6 billion) in funding, by 31 votes to 21. The XRL is expected to be completed in the third quarter of 2018, which will have been 7.5 years behind the progress of the Guangshen Section in the Mainland.
The Northern Link will provide a cross-boundary link for the West Rail Line and create a new railway corridor between the West Rail Line and the East Rail Line in northern New Territories. The completion of the project is already deferred because the Express Rail Link is absorbed into the High-Speed Rail Link. The Northern Link may not now be viable without substantial housing developments in the New Territories to assist in building costs, but however with the extension to Ping Che/Ta Kwu Ling, these will be examined under the RDS 2013 and the new construction will start in 2018 and complete in 2023.
North Island Line involves the merging of the Island Line with the Tung Chung Line and the Tseung Kwan O Line. Its feasibility mainly depends on the development along the new coastline of the Victoria Harbour. The completion of the project is already revealed in the latest Hong Kong 2013 Transport Study, construction will start in 2021 and complete in 2026.
The original scheme of the East Kowloon Line would connect Diamond Hill Station via Hung Hom Station to Sheung Wan Station. It was refined and merged into what today known as the East West Corridor without crossing the harbour to Sheung Wan.
In 2014, another railway scheme of the same name was unveiled by the government which would provide metro service in the opposite direction to Po Lam Station via Sau Mau Ping. The 2014 railway development strategy recommended the new line would begin construction in 2019 and be finished in 2025.
The Chek Lap Kok Link would provide a path between the Airport and Tuen Mun. This proposal was renamed Hong Kong-Shenzhen Western Express Railway in a 2011 study and expanded to allow for air-rail intermodal transfer between HKIA and Shenzhen Bao'an International Airport, cross border travel from western areas of Shenzhen and western areas of Hong Kong and domestic travel between northern Lantau Island and the North West New Territories. It will be completed by 2050.
Other studied areas for expansion include -Possible short extension of the Tung Chung Line to Tung Chung West and Tung Chung East station.
Possible short extension of the West Rail Line toward the Tuen Mun South
A new station on the West Rail Line called Hung Shui Kiu Station
Possible short extension of the Island Line to Siu Sai Wan.
Also an additional station on the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line at Kwu Tung has also been proposed as a single proposal, it has previously been included within the Northern Link project.
The MTR Corporation is planning to outsource its services centres of 14 stations on the Island Line. Around 100 employees will be arranged to work at the Disneyland Resort Line and the AsiaWorld-Expo station. Services centres on the new stations of Tseung Kwan O Line are already outsourced when it started its service.