If you mostly travel between popular tourists spots such as Tsim Sha Tsui, Mong Kok or Central, you probably wouldn’t realize there is first class train.
The trains traveling along East Rail line of Hong Kong’s metro system, MTR, has one First Class compartment in every train, which people will need to pay extra fare for that, just like other transportation‘s First Class.
Only trains traveling along East Rail line has First Class among other lines in Hong Kong. It is because over a hundred years ago it was the only mass transportation to travel to China from Hong Kong, and it was a long journey. Just like other (British) trains in the old days. The railway company provided First Class so people could pay more for a better choice.
The tram to Victoria Peak had first class also, but as time goes by only East Rail remains to have it.
What passengers would need to do is to purchase First Class Single Ticket or tap the Octopus Card on the First Class Validation machine on the platform in every East Rail line station to validate the Octopus card. When passengers arrive at the destination, just tap the Octopus card on the gate which normally do. The card will be charged more than normal single fare.
Inside the First Class, free WiFi, tea & coffees are... NOT available. The main difference between First Class and normal compartment is the seats. The First Class seats have cushion and are facing forward or backward. Therefore people mainly take the First Class because they want to make sure they have seats. However railway in Hong Kong is getting busier now so sometimes all the seats may be occupied during rush hour.
If the passenger does not have a valid First Class Single Ticket nor validated Octopus card before taking First Class ride, the person may be penalized. The penalty is HKD$500 and the passenger may be required to pay the fine in cash immediately.
East rail line goes from Kowloon up to the north to Shenzhen, via New Territories.
If visitors would like to take the First Class in order to secure seats and enjoy the view during the ride, take the right hand side window seat when you are going to the north. That side is relatively more scenic. Take the seats on the left when going south.