Souvenir sales on the Hong Kong MTR

Hong Kong’s MTR system is famous around the world, so perhaps it is no surprise that a wide variety of official souvenirs are available.

Souvenirs for sale at the MTR Tourist Services store at West Kowloon Terminus

The range includes such trinkets like watches with an Octopus chip inside, allowing you to pay for travel.

Peppa Pig Octopus watches  on sale at the customer service counter

Limited edition items like this series of eight different Nanoblock trains.

MTR Nanoblock trains for sale at the MTR Tourist Services store at West Kowloon Terminus

And souvenir ticket sets – for Chinese New Year.

MTR network anniversaries.

Plus popular characters like Disney Tsum Tsum.

Snoopy.

And Doraemon.

The items can be purchased from MTR ‘Tourist Services’ outlets – located at Admiralty Station, Hong Kong West Kowloon Station, Airport Station and Hong Kong International Airport.

'Tourist Services' ticket and souvenir store at Admiralty station

MTR souvenir store and customer service centre at Airport station

A limited range is also for sale at customer service counters across the MTR network.

Customer service counter and ticket gates at Kennedy Town Station

But the MTR Souvenirs online store (note the odd looking URL) carries the complete range.

Footnote on model trains

Scale models of MTR trains are sometimes available – such as these diecast models.

Diecast models of MTR trains

With 80M Bus Model Shop the place to go for the widest range.

80M Bus Model Shop at Langham Place

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Hong Kong’s archaic English and ‘Litter cum Recyclable Collection Bins’

There is something that seemingly every English speaking tourist snickers about when visiting Hong Kong – the “Litter cum Recyclable Collection Bins” found on every street corner.

'Litter cum Recyclable Collection Bin' at Kowloon Park

In this case “cum” is the archaic Latin word which means “combined with” – not the double entendre.

'Litter cum recyclable' bin

In 2014 the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department received complaints about the “unpleasant meaning”, so commenced a program to cover over the offending word.

Censored 'Litter Cum Recyclables Collection Bin' in Hong Kong

But in the years since many of the stickers have been peeled off.

'Litter cum recyclables collection bin'

But that isn’t all

Tung Chung has a “Fire Station cum Ambulance Depot”.

Folding doors at the Tung Chung Fire Station cum Ambulance Depot

The Hong Kong Society for the Blind runs a ‘Factory cum Sheltered Workshop’.

'Factory cum Sheltered Workshop'

But the one that really takes the cake is the ‘Public Toilet Cum Bathhouse’ I found on Cheung Chau.

Cheung Chau Peak Road 'Public Toilet Cum Bathhouse'

Further reading

Mary Hui covers this topic in great detail in a piece titled ‘Hong Kong has a cum problem‘ at The Outline.

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Television commercials for the MTR Airport Express

The Airport Express line commenced operations in July 1998, linking the brand new Hong Kong International Airport airport at Chek Lap Kok to Kowloon and Hong Kong Island.

The MTR advertising campaigns emphasised how easy it was to access the new airport by rail – tugboats pulling the new airport closer to Hong Kong Island.

And an Airport Express train running directly to planes.

Another campaign featured Hong Kong cantopop star 黎明 (Leon Lai).

While this final advert for souvenir MTR model trains had kids working behind the scenes.

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Hong Kong’s most useless road – Airport Tunnel on Chek Lap Kok

Hong Kong has dozens of road tunnels passing under Victoria Harbour and through the numerous mountain ranges. But there is one road tunnel that is absolutely useless – the Airport Tunnel on Chek Lap Kok.

Eastern entrance to the Airport Tunnel and was built as part of the

The Airport Tunnel (機場隧道) is a 800 metre one-way two-lane untolled road tunnel, opened to traffic in 2018, built as part of the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge boondoggle.


Annex 1, Proposals on Technical Legislative Amendments on Traffic Arrangements for the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge

The tunnel passes beneath the Cathay Dragon head office.


Google Maps

And along with Tung Wing Road (東榮路) the tunnel allows motorists from the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities to access Hong Kong International Airport.


Google Maps

A guided tour

The journey starts on the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities (HKBCF) island, where you have three options – Airport, Tung Chung, or AsiaWorld Expo.


Gabriel Chu on YouTube

We’ll take the left exit towards Chek Lap Kok Road, then take the exit for Tung Wing Road.


HongKong Buses on YouTube

Outside the tunnel portal there is a big tow truck.

Heavy recovery tow truck parked outside the Airport Tunnel

And a small one.

Small tow truck parked outside the Airport Tunnel

We then head down the ramp into the Airport Tunnel.


HongKong Buses on YouTube

And into the dark.


HongKong Buses on YouTube

The road keeps curving.


HongKong Buses on YouTube

And curving.


HongKong Buses on YouTube

Until we finally come back to the surface, having done a 180 degree turn.


HongKong Buses on YouTube

Where we join traffic on Airport Road towards the main HKIA terminals.


HongKong Buses on YouTube

And the pointless part

Turns out the looping route made possible by the Airport Tunnel isn’t actually needed – other roads provide the same connection between the Hong Kong Boundary Crossing Facilities and the airport.


Google Maps

But it requires weaving across two lanes of traffic – so only buses are allowed to take the shortcut.


Gabriel Chu on YouTube

But buses still have the option to go the long way around via Tung Wing Road and the Airport Tunnel should traffic conditions require it.

Footnote: Hong Kong’s first Airport Tunnel

In 1982 the a different ‘Airport Tunnel’ opened in Hong Kong – running 1.26 km beneath the runway of Kai Tak Airport, connecting Kowloon Bay to Ma Tau Kok.

In 1998 Hong Kong International Airport was relocated from Kowloon City to Chek Lap Kok, but the tunnel kept the old name, confusing unsuspecting motorists, until it was decided to rename it the ‘Kai Tak Tunnel’ in 2006.

Further reading

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‘Ocean Express’ funicular railway at Ocean Park

Hong Kong’s most famous funicular railway is the Peak Tram, running up the hills of Hong Kong Island to Victoria Peak. But there is a second funicular, much less well known – the ‘Ocean Express’ train at Ocean Park.

Along the route

Ocean Park is spread across two sites – the ‘Waterfront’ entry plaza, and the ‘Summit’ marine park – which are linked by a cable car system.

Ocean Park logo in the hilside

But due to the exposed environment, it cannot run in bad weather.

Cable car, looking down on Aberdeen

So a parallel transport system was conceived – the ‘Ocean Express’ funicular.


Ocean Park EIA-121/2006 report, Figure 4.1.2

Passengers board at the ‘Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea’ themed lower station.

Like most funiculars, the platform is stepped.

With separate platforms to exit and board.

The trains are styled like a submarine.

Time to go into the tunnel, which is single track.


BYME Engineering photo

With a passing loop at the midpoint, where ascending and descending trains cross.


BYME Engineering photo

We continue uphill, and arrive at the top station.

Facts and figures

In 2006 Ocean Park unveiled their ‘Master Redevelopment Project’, part of which was the ‘Ocean Express’ funicular paralleling the existing cable car system. This was approved by the government in July 2006.

The funicular has two 2-car long trains, which take three minutes to travel along the 1,276.0 metre long line. The maximum speed is 10.0 metres/second, giving a total passenger capacity of 5,000 passengers per hour. The gradient is 5.12 % (1:20) for a 115.0 metre rise.


Ocean Park EIA-121/2006 report, Figure 1.1

Work on the project started on 20 September 2007, with 1.1 kilometres of the route in tunnel, which was constructed by the drill-and-blast method.


Ocean Park Master Redevelopment Project Environment Monitoring Report, Figure 1.3

A temporary conveyor belt system was used to transport spoil from the Summit station down to Tai Shue Wan for disposal by barge. Track laying commenced in Fall 2008.


Ocean Park EIA-121/2006 report, Figure 3.5

The two 2-car long trains were manufactured by Gangloff AG. Each vehicle is supplied with electricity by live rails on both sides along the entire length of the line.


Ropeways International photo

The funicular system was supplied by Doppelmayr Garaventa Group.


Ropeways International photo

The main traction cable is 43 mm in diameter, the driving disc has a 3.4 metre diameter and a top speed of 53.91 rpm, driven by two traction groups of nominal 580 kW power. The system can operate with only one of the traction groups in service. A separate diesel engine and hydraulic motor is also in provided in case of power supply failure. Due to the shallow gradient, a secondary 26 mm counter cable is in place, hydraulically tautened in the lower station.

An emergency excavation walkway is located on both sides of the tracks. This is linked to a parallel escape passage by fire doors located every 50 metres, pressurised to exclude fire and smoke. The escape passage has exits at both ends of the tunnel, as well as a third exit at the midpoint.

A soft opening of the funicular was held in August 2009, with a grand opening on 9 September 2009.

Sources

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