And a Happy New Year from Hong Kong! It’s not Kung Hei Fat Choi for another six weeks or so, but Hong Kong being a practical sort of place, the Christmas lights might as well stay up for both the English and Chinese New Years. And we’ll have fireworks for both New Years! I’ve yet to get over to the Island to look for the trams. I first travelled on a Hong Kong tram in 1981, but never thought they’d be going strong in 2014. But they form an important travel link for short hops along Hong Kong Island. And they are cheaper than the parallel MTR underground, and for one or two station trips just as fast, as you have to walk miles in some MTR stations. In the 1990’s, the trams were rebuilt, but the basic chassis and control equipment was as built many years before. And I’m sure the new version contains much of the old…. Anyway here are three shots of trams, now and then, that I found on the internet. I’m yet to see a new build tram, with a neat wrap-round windscreen. I’m sure you still have to open all the windows in a typhoon, to stop the tram being blown over.
I couldn’t find any 1980’s tram photos – either on the internet, or from my home photos. I know I have a load, but they are tucked away somewhere ‘safe’. One day…. But here is a super photo from the early 1970’s by Roger Wallstadt. The date is evidenced by the bus and car – and by the lack of high rise in Queens Road! But the tram with single deck trailer are as I remember them in 1981. The trailers had gone before I returned to HK in 1983, but the original trams were still around through the 1980’s.
Buses could be I whole post on their own. I recall catching a bus like this home from work in the 1980’s, but China Motor bus livery had changed to blue and cream. The 11 route to Tai Hang estate was a joy. It was running ex-London Transport DMS buses, that I had last seen on the 185 bus route to work from Camberwell. They were sold to HK, as not tough enough for the 185. In HK, they slogged up the steep hills of the 11 route (and elsewhere) for years. I remember the 11 terminus, when a little man topped up the radiator with a watering can after every trip. Inside, the original mocquette seats were still there, beloved of generations of cockroaches that loved the warm seats at the back next to the engine. And by the exit, you were still encouraged to phone Abbey 123 to complain….
Back to trams, and one final shot of what happens if a tram breaks down in Admiralty district. Gridlock – or should it be tram-lock!