‘Emergency Tram Operation’ at Whitty Street Depot

Whitty Street Depot is the head office and main maintenance facility for the Hong Kong Tramways, located off Des Voeux Road West at the western end of Hong Kong Island. A friend of mine discovered an ‘Emergency Tram Operation’ sign in the back streets of Shek Tong Tsui, so I had to take a look for myself.

'Emergency Tram Operation' sign at the intersection of Water Street and Connaught Road West

Headed into the depot

On Des Voeux Road West is the Shek Tong Tsui Terminus, which allows westbound trams to return to Central.

Tram #9 departs the Shek Tong Tsui Terminus

A short distance away is a triangular junction leading to the Whitty Street Depot.

Westbound at the junction leading to the Whitty Street Depot

Tram tracks pass beneath the Connaught Road West flyover.

Trams #40 and #130 pass outside the Whitty Street Depot west gate

Through the gate.

Tram #40 exits Whitty Street Depot via the west gate

And into the depot.

Trams stabled inside the Whitty Street Depot roads

Where there is a tangle of tracks and reversing loops.


Extract from map by Maximilian Dörrbecker

And around the back gate

The back fence of the tram depot runs along Fung Mat Road.

Tram #46 'spearing' the trolley pole inside the depot

Where there is a set of points leading off the reversing loop.

Single track exits the rear gate at Whitty Street Depot onto Fung Mat Road

With a single track exiting the back gate and onto Fung Mat Road

Single track exits the rear gate at Whitty Street Depot onto Fung Mat Road

The track runs east along Fung Mat Road.

Single track heads east along Fung Mat Road from the rear gate at Whitty Street Depot

Then turns south into Water Street.

Single track from Whitty Street Depot heads south along Water Street

It then passes under the Connaught Road West overpass.

Single track turns from Water Street into Connaught Road West

Where I found the ‘Emergency Tram Operation’ sign.

'Emergency Tram Operation' sign at the intersection of Water Street and Connaught Road West

The tram track then curves east into Connaught Road West, headed against the flow of westbound road traffic.

Single track turns from Water Street into Connaught Road West

Another ‘Emergency Tram Operation’ sign.

'Emergency Tram Operation' sign at the intersection of Water Street and Connaught Road West

At Chiu Kwong Street the tram track curves south again.

Disused straight section of track at the intersection of Chiu Kwong Street and Connaught Road West

Where there is a short section of disused track.

Disused straight section of track at the intersection of Chiu Kwong Street and Connaught Road West

Leading into the underside of the Connaught Road West flyover.

Disused straight section of track at the intersection of Chiu Kwong Street and Connaught Road West

The disused track is disconnected from the mainline.

Disused straight track stub meets the curve through the intersection of Chiu Kwong Street and Connaught Road West

But even the rails of the ‘active’ track are well and truly pitted by rust.

Rusted tracks at the intersection of Chiu Kwong Street and Connaught Road West

The tracks continue south along Chiu Kwong Street.

Single track along Chiu Kwong Street at Des Voeux Road West

At the Des Voeux Road West intersection the tracks curve east.

Single track along Chiu Kwong Street from the Whitty Street depot rejoins from rejoins Des Voeux Road West

And then rejoin the main route along Des Voeux Road West.

Single track along Chiu Kwong Street from the Whitty Street depot rejoins from rejoins Des Voeux Road West

So why does this track exists?

Whitty Street Depot opened in 1989, but I can’t find a reference to when the ‘back’ track to the depot was provided – presumably it was built at the same time as the depot.

As for the disused section of track at Chiu Kwong Street, from what I have been able to piece together, this is a result of the construction of the Connaught Road West flyover in the 1990s.

Connaught Road West once ran at ground level, with the single tram track running in the middle of the road. To make room for the flyover the track was moved to the south, leaving a stub of the old track behind. The same project also saw the Shek Tong Tsui Terminus and main depot access track relocated to make space.

And the ‘Emergency Tram Operation’ signs at Connaught Road West and Water Street? In both streets trams leaving the depot are headed in the opposite direction to road traffic – which means that police need to be attendance to direct traffic whenever trams use the section.

Sources

Liked it? Take a second to support Marcus Wong on Patreon!
This entry was posted in Transport and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *