Kowloon Canton Railway pre-electrification

Finding details of the Kowloon Canton Railway pre-electrification is a tad tricky: when the majority of the content is in a language that you don’t speak it gets a lot harder.

To start off with what I already dug up: this photo shows the northern portal of the tunnel near Tai Wai, sometime between the 1957 introduction of EMD G12 No. 54 and the modernisation work of the late 1970s (photo via this blog).

Kowloon Canton Railway KCR - EMD G12 locomotive No. 54

A much more exciting find on YouTube was this 25 minute long documentary about the first 80 years of the Kowloon Canton Railway – produced by the KCRC in 1990, I hadn’t found it before now because the title, description and narration are all in Cantonese.

Part 1 includes the following:

  • Stacks of footage of the non-refurbished Metro Cammell EMUs, including from inside the cab,
  • Walking through the original 1970s passenger station Hung Hom,
  • Historical photos of the construction of the original railway,
  • Footage of the steam locomotives used up until the 1950s.

Part 2 goes on to show:

  • Footage of the Sha Tin New Town when it was still being developed,
  • A diesel hauled passenger train picking up passengers at the above ground Mong Kok station,
  • Signaller at work inside one of the lever frame equipped signal boxes,
  • Station staff and guard giving the ‘all clear’ at a station,
  • Train driver at the controls of one of the Clyde-EMU diesels,
  • Cab view of the single track line and level crossings,
  • Footage of the modernisation and electrification works of the early 1980s,
  • Delivery of the first Metro Cammell EMUs,
  • A look inside the main KCR signal control centre,
  • Loading freight such as paper and pigs into wagons,
  • 1980s-era China Railways through trains,
  • What looks to be a restored heritage train, lead by grey painted diesel KCR #57 and classmate, then a red freight van, two green carriages, and a red carriage. (The latter 3 vehicles have ended up at the Hong Kong Railway Museum)

I also found this 3 minute short film produced by Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption. The setting is a KCR train in the late 1970s, and I assume the piece is about crooked people trying to bribe police, but since everything is in Cantonese so I can’t tell for sure.

Notable railway footage includes:

  • KCR #59 hauling a passenger train on a single track line,
  • Train pulling into Sha Tin station,
  • Interior shots of a first class compartment and the luggage van,
  • Shot of an unidentified G26CU diesel.

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3 Responses to Kowloon Canton Railway pre-electrification

  1. xahldera says:

    I’d say that was a reasonable assumption about the ICAC piece given that at the time, bribery was a massive concern in Hong Kong, with officials asking for “Tea Money” as compensation to do various tasks.

    Interesting piece on the railways pre-electrification there. All I got to go on are stories from my parents and other relatives about the old trains they used to ride to get between different parts of Hong Kong. Please do keep writing these articles. 🙂

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