Today we’ll have a stroll around the HK Railway Museum. When HK does bother to preserve anything, they usually do it well. The museum is a very pleasant place to visit for an hour or two, and is also a shady spot with lots of old banyan trees around the old station yard. My only complaint was that like much of East Rail, MTR have built noise barriers between the museum and the adjacent main line – mainly for the flats behind I guess, but it would have been a great spot for a few photos. But amazingly for HK, it’s free so you can’t really complain.
The museum is based around the old Tai Po Market station building. Tai Po Market is the original old market town at on the shores of Tolo Harbour and at the mouth of the Lam Tsuen River. The station has been replaced by new ones at Tai Po and Tai Wo, that serve new towns either side of the market town. You walk to the museum through Tai Po Market town, which is old 1960’s and 1970’s low(ish) rise buildings, in contrast to the high rise of the new towns.
On arrival, you see the old station nameboard, and the delightful traditional Chinese style station building.
Inside, there are interesting poster and video displays of the history of the KCR and MTR, but some of the station has been restored to its old appearance. Here we have the ticket office and block equitment (and a modern dehumidifier). I doubt whether the block equipment could cope with the current 2 minute train separation. The lever frame is still there, with a signal outside.
Sir Alexander is one of the early diesel locomotives bought from Australia and used for passenger services before electrification and freight as well. There were also some newer larger Co-Co locos, for freight, but I am unsure whether they are still around. I had a short cab ride in Lo Wu marshalling yard at Lo Wu in 1991 – I knew the operations manager of the KCR at that time. A sister locomotive to No. 51 went home to Australia and is still in use.
The second locomotive is a 2′ narrow gauge Bagnall 0-4-4, used for the short Fanling to Shau Tau Kok branch. This was only open for 16 years, till 1928, and was closed after a road was built. The locomotive then went to the Philippines and continued working at a sugar cane mill till 1990. It then returned to HK for restoration and preservation.
There is a rake of coaches preserved at the museum, in their final condition before electrification of the KCR. I remember riding on one of these in 1981. All the railways preserved here show their strong UK roots, but slight USA and Australian features – no buffers, buckeye couplings and verandas.
And being a model railway enthusiast, one has to have photos of the underframes, in this case a couple of aged and interesting bogies.