It’s my greatest pleasure collaborating with John Prentice on this first-class book of Hong Kong Tramways. Amazingly, John and I haven’t meet in person – we started contact via emails when I was impressed by his large size HK tram model. We worked on this book with the office of Mr. W. H. Tsang who has been acknowledged, just as the co-authors, Peter Atkinson and Alan Williams of the first edition had done with generous assistance from Mr. J H W Salmon.
John visited Hong Kong in 1981, 1990 and 2005 and supplied numerous valuable photos in the book. He is the Chairman of the Tramway & Light Railway Society, a registered educational charity that spreads knowledge about tramway history and tramway modelling, John also organizes the annual event, Festival of Model Tramways, a gathering of model tram enthusiasts.
Alan Williams served in the Royal Navy and worked with Atkinson on the first edition in 1965, published in 1970. Being a tram enthusiast and tram driver, Alan has enjoyed his time working with us for this book and is happy with our new edition. He set up the Tramalan kit of his beloved Hong Kong trams of 1950s style and regularly visits Hong Kong.
On 9 February afternoon, Alan visited the Whitty Street tram depot, accompanied by Antoine Sambin, Commercial & Corporate Affairs Manager. The workshop is unique – trams are built in-house, the individual parts are produced in-house too. It’s memorable for Alan holds the 1st edition book together with Antoine holds the new edition.
It’s generous of the co-authors, Alan and John, to sign their names in the book. A pity is Peter cannot be with us.
Steven Chan, senior engineering manager for Hong Kong Tramways, praised the outcome of the new edition. Chan was an aircraft mechanic before joining the company in 1996, drew up the plans for electrical upgrades on trams, keep using DIY equipment and homespun techniques. Chan has retired and working as consultant for HKT.
I took a view of the book and tram 120 together before sending a copy to Wirral Transport Museum, where two HK trams of 1950s style are running. A great surprise received from the museum on 21 January when the volunteers showed the book with two HK trams parked ‘face to face’. It is definitely a special crossover for both trams in HK and UK, feeling like they are running together.
Yip Woon-cheong has worked for Hong Kong Tramways for over 40 years, introduced by his uncle. Yip’s parents and brother also worked on the trams. He joined the company in 1965 and became an inspector then promoted to senior inspector (副總稽查), training the drivers until his retirement. Yip is a ‘dictionary on trams’ and has a great collection of tram models. The photos in the book bring back his memories.
I have to also express gratitude to Tim Runnacles (溫禮高), who supplied fruitful pictures and descriptions for the post-1970 section. Tim was a Chief Transport Officer of the Transport Department, worked on the Tuen Mun LRT scheme from 1977 to 1985, and associated with Hong Kong Tramways and the Peak Tram from 1985 to 1993. He also undertook a consultancy study of HKT for Transport Department from 1999 to 2001.
The management of HK Tramways is impressed on the fruitful book contents, and is now available on sale on HKT website.
Detailed book reviews can be found from the below pdf and the link.
1. 單層：1904年 (頭等 ∕三等)
2. 雙層 (開篷無頂)
1. 單層：1904年 (三等)
2. 雙層 (開篷無頂) ：無
[Fleet breakdown of HK Tramways]
Generally there is no specific/official “generation” categories on tramcars. As many of the cars in one generation were in fact just modifications of the previous, such as open top cars fitted with canvas roofs and then wooden roofs. This is not a clear classification to tram types.
Trams can be categorized in six types based on numbers, dates and styles. See below:
1. Single-deck: 1904 (1st class/3rd class)
2. Double-deck (open-top)
3. Double-deck fully enclosed: 1925
4. Post-war: 1949
5. 1987 series
6. 2011 Signature
We believe using ‘six-types and dates’ is able to categorize all the trams.
However, it’s difficult in researching precedent tram numbers from old photos due to rare clear views.
Wooden roof and trailers applied on no.12, of which trailer 12 run together with postwar 12 in 1960s. What “generation” belong to if according to “seven generations”? Obviously, it’s incomplete category without dates.
By using six types, tram 12 can be categorized:
1. Single-deck: 1904 (3rd class)
2. Double-deck (open-top): nil
3. Double-deck fully enclosed: 1925
4. Post-war: 1952
5. 1987 series
6. 2011 Signature: 2016
* 12 was the 1st tram of 1987 series
Based on six types of trams, we created a detailed database by dates, numbers, types and builders, to indicate the changes on fleet.
For instance, the ancestors of 68 and 88 were canvas top and prewar style, respectively, current 120 is replica of 1949 style, 171 was the 1st aircon tram, etc.. Worth noting that Taikoo and Whampoa dockyards were the former co-builders of HK Tramways.
As to the Millennium trams built in year 2000, it’s not applicable to categorize as “generation” as only four were built and not in place of the entire fleet.
History of Hong Kong Trams Renumbering Continue reading “History of Hong Kong Trams Renumbering”