Hong Kong bus models for every budget

What does a young kid on holiday in Hong Kong and loaded up with red envelopes do? In the case of my son – spend the cash on pull-back action models of Hong Kong public transport!

My son's collection of Hong Kong pull back action toy vehicles

Cheap and cheerful

The first range of pull-back action vehicles we found were at a newsstand outside the Star Ferry pier, but they seem to be everywhere, including a gift shop on Lamma Island.

Pull back action toy vehicles by 'Sun Hing Toys'- Hong Kong double decker bus, public light buses and taxis

Dirt cheap at around HK$28 per vehicle, their range of pull-back action vehicles include both types of Public Light Bus.

Pull back action Hong Kong public light bus by 'Sun Hing Toys'- it cost my son HK$29

And red urban, blue Lantau and green New Territories taxis.

Pull back action Hong Kong taxi by 'Sun Hing Toys' - it cost my son HK$25

They are a product of Sun Hing Toys, and are approximately 1:87 scale.

And a little more expensive

At around HK$60 and up, we found these more detailed toys at 80M Bus Model Shop, who have multiple stores around Hong Kong.

80M Bus Model Shop at Langham Place

My son bought a pull-back action police van and ambulance.

Pull back action Hong Kong ambulance and police van by 'Cars Workshop'

A fire truck, and a Mobile Softee ice cream truck.

Pull back action Hong Kong ice cream truck and fire truck by 'Cars Workshop'

There are seven vehicles in that range.

Range of pull back action Hong Kong vehicles by 'Cars Workshop'

And he also picked up a die cast toy bus.

Hong Kong double decker bus toy from 80M bus model shop - only cost my son HK$59

All of the above are manufactured by Cars Workshop.

And the big kids toys

80M Bus Model Shop is also full of far more expensive models.

Every kind of Hong Kong transport model for sale at 80M Bus Model Shop

Hundreds of different 1:87 scale buses to choose from.

HO scale bus model diorama at 80M Bus Model Shop

Plus a range of 1:160 scale buses, that seems to have been shrinking since my 2010 visit.

1:160 scale Hong Kong street scene at the 80M Bus Model Shop

And a handful of static Hong Kong train models.

Tuen Mun Light Rail Vehicle models in KCR and MTR liveries, along with MTR High Speed trains at 80M Bus Model Shop

Leaving me with a far lighter wallet after every visit!

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Books for learning Hong Kong Cantonese

My son has always been interested in learning Cantonese, so our last trip to Hong Kong we did the rounds of bookshops, trying to find a book on the subject. We ended up buying a copy of “Illustrated Hong Kong Cantonese” by Stream of Wisdom Publishing.

The book focuses on vocabulary for everyday life, with 2000 Cantonese words spread across 344 illustrated pages, with each translated into five languages – Cantonese, Mandarin, English, Tagalog, and Bahasa Indonesia.

The reason for the inclusion of Tagalog and Bahasa Indonesia – Hong Kong is full of domestic helpers from the Philippines and Indonesia.

Footnote

Stream of Wisdom Publishing has also many other books for Cantonese learners, including one for Japanese and Korean speakers.

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Following the Shatin to Central Link project works from home

Being able to use satellite imagery to follow construction work from home is nothing new, but the 3D imagery that Google has made available for free is something else.

You can peer down this 16 meter diameter, 32 meter deep shaft at Fung Tak.

The cut and cover station box at Kai Tak.

Or the multi-level station complex at Ho Man Tin.

It’s just like being there!

Footnote

More detail about the Shatin to Central Link tunnels from Hin Keng to Diamond Hill.

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Testing MTR trains in the green fields of England

Hong Kong’s MTR trains usually spend their days running back and forth through dark tunnels, but for one early train it experienced something quite different – the green fields of England.

The contract for Hong Kong’s first electric trains was awarded to British firm Metro-Cammell in July 1976, who built them at their plant at Washwood Heath, Birmingham.


Birmingham Mail photo

Meanwhile three hours away in north-east England, there was another rail system being supplied with Metro-Cammell trains – the Tyne and Wear Metro.

One feature of this system was a 2.4 kilometre long test track, completed in June 1975.

The single track line was provided with a 1,500 volt DC overhead power supply, a station platform and two-road train shed, along with a section of reverse curves, a length of 1 in 25 gradient.

065752:An aerial photograph of Metro test track Backworth. Unknown 1975-1980

And a 4.75 metre diameter tunnel.

066055:Metro Test Centre Track Newcastle upon Tyne Unknown 1977

By 1978 Metro-Cammell has completed the first MTR train for Hong Kong, and a decision was made to send it to the Tyne and Wear Metro test track for a shakedown run. However there was a problem – Hong Kong’s trains were far larger than what the test track was designed for – so the tunnel had to be demolished, and only a two carriage long train could be created.

Following testing the train was despatched to Hong Kong, arriving on 16 May 1978, commencing testing within the Kowloon Bay Depot on 4 September the same year, with the system opening to passengers on 1 October 1979.

As for the Tyne and Wear Metro, it eventually opened to passengers on 11 August 1980. The test track closed the same year, and is now the North Tyneside Steam Railway.

Sources

And some more on the British connection to the MTR:

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MTR Airport Service Platform at Chek Lap Kok

On the MTR network there is a station that trains stop at, but passengers cannot use – the Airport Service Platform on Chek Lap Kok.


GAKEI.com photo

The MTR Airport Express began service on 6 July 1998, the opening date of the new Hong Kong International Airport.

Overview of Hong Kong International Airport

With Airport Station the initial terminus.

Stacked arrival and departure platforms at Airport station

Services were extended one stop to AsiaWorld–Expo Station from 20 December 2005.

Arrival at the AsiaWorld-Expo terminus

Following the opening of the adjacent convention centre.

Skypier and AsiaWorld-Expo at the eastern end of Hong Kong International Airport

But this extension didn’t see any new track built.

MTR train arrives at AsiaWorld-Expo station

The viaduct between Airport and AsiaWorld–Expo stations already existed.

MTR train departs Airport station for AsiaWorld-Expo

Built as part of the original Airport Railway project as a turnback facility.

The project included several other elements besides the station and viaducts. Once departing passengers have alighted, trains travel to a cleaning facility for litter removal before coming back via a crossover to collect arriving passengers.

Called the ‘Airport Service Platform’ or ‘機場快綫整備月台’.


GAKEI.com photo

Terminating trains

Under normal service headways, the single platform at AsiaWorld-Expo is enough to handle terminating Airport Express trains.

MTR train arrives at AsiaWorld-Expo station

But there is a second track.

Display for the 'Airport Control Area' Alstom Alspa CMF/ITS system at AsiaWorld-Expo

Located on the other side of a narrow island platform – the forgotten ‘Airport Service Platform’.

Island platform that was the original Airport Service Platform opposite the current AsiaWorld-Expo station platform

Now renumbered AsiaWorld–Expo 2.

'AWE 2' sign on the service platform at AsiaWorld-Expo

And hidden behind the platform screen doors.

Looking across to the centre service platform at AsiaWorld-Expo

But still available for the use of trains without passengers.

And other unused platforms on the Airport Railway

There are a few other ‘ghost’ platforms along the route – two island platforms at Nam Cheong station, located between the Airport Express and Tung Chung track pairs.

Airport Express emergency platform at Nam Cheong station

A pair of island platforms between the Airport Express and Tung Chung tracks at Sunny Bay.

Looking across the platforms at Sunny Bay station

Side platforms beside the tracks at Siu Ho Wan depot.

Emergency platforms near Siu Ho Wan depot

And an unused platform for future expansion at Airport station.

Unused platform on the Terminal 2 side of the citybound track at Airport station

Located on the Terminal 2 side of the citybound track, it is ready for the future expansion of terminal 2 to handle arriving passengers, not just departures.

More photos of the Airport Service Platform

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