On New Year’s Day I worked in my hotel for the morning, but spent the afternoon exploring. A five minute walk from the hotel took me to Ngau Tau Kok MTR line. An investment of HK$55 (about £4.50) gave me a 24-hour tourist ticket for most of the rail lines in HK.
Ngau Tau Kok is on the elevated section of this MTR line. Like the London Underground, the outer ends of the line tend to be above ground. In HK, these tend to be elevated viaducts shoe-horned between building and above main roads. I’d hoped to get some photos of the trains in the station, but the MTR has been fitted with safety gates – low gates at above ground stations, and full height ones in the underground section. I did managed to get one photograph of my train approaching the station, that gives a good idea of how the station fits into the local environment.
I took the Kwun Tong line MTR to Kowloon Tong and changed trains onto the ‘main line’ – the old Kowloon to Canton railway. Once the KCR, this section of HK railways became part of the Mass Transit, MTR, in 2007. I then took the KCR train north to Tai Wo station. The next picture is a KCR line train crossing the Lam Tsuen river.
Five minutes walk from Tai Wo and next to the main line is the HK railway museum – I’ll write about this in my next post. After a happy hour or so at the museum, I took the train back south to Sha Tin. This was a purely nostalgic visit, as I had spend a year in 1991-92 living and working in Sha Tin. The shopping centre next to the station was a busy as it ever was. I recall that in 1991, the Sha Tin MacDonalds was the busiest branch in the whole world. And in 1993 there were fights in the branch over the latest Snoopy toys.
I spent some time on the station, and took a few pictures of two generations of multiple units in the station. These trains only go up to Lo Wu and the old HK-China border. It is now the HK China- Guandong China border. It was interesting to compare these modern units with the old first generation electrics that I rode in the 1980’s and 1990’s. I had a cab ride in one of these, all the way to Mong Kok to Lo Wu – almost all of the HK section of the KCR. I had hoped to get a look at some of the cross-border through trains, too, but managed to time things badly and was on a train each time one went through. I did, though, see the prototype of my Kato model of the double-deck push-pull service, with a loco at each end.
Finally, here’s a picture of the new West Rail line crossing the Kam Tin valley in the north-west New Territories. My work involved inspecting the inflatable dams on each arm of the Kam Tin river here, and the pumping station in between. It was also a good chance for a little bird-watching, as there were plenty of birds like these Black-Winged Stilts in the channels.