HK meeting with Japan tram artist

It was my pleasure to meet Matsuda Koichi 松田浩一 on May 20th at Western Market.
Koichi san visited Hong Kong in 2014 and very impressed by the colourful trams, and started photographing the trams at Shaukeiwan terminus for five years. Selected from over 10,000 tram photos, Koichi san chose 350 featuring as a “tram photos billboard” on Millennium car 170 for celebrating 115th years of Tramways in 2019. He felt proud of creating a real tram with his photos, followed by various tram exhibition in Japan during these years.
See you soon!

April HK meeting

It was truly a pleasure to meet Ciril on the afternoon of April 11th at HK Park. We had a wonderful conversation about a range of topics, including the HK tram rolling stock, other forms of transportation, and his past trip to HK in the 1970s.
Ciril is the father of Walter, First Counsellor & Head of Trade Section at the European Union Office in Hong Kong and Macao.
I was thrilled to be able to give him a copy of my book, ‘Hong Kong Trams – The City’s Heritage,’ and a magazine that would be helpful for him in drafting another transport article about HK. I am looking forward to reading it.

Hong Kong Tramways book

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.


香港電車車款列表 | Fleet breakdown of HK Tramways




1. 單層:1904年 (頭等 ∕三等)
2. 雙層 (開篷無頂)
3. 全密封雙層:1925年
4. 戰後式:1949年
5. 1987年系列
6. 鋁製電車:2011年



以12號為例,有加裝木頂上層的12號,60年代的拖卡亦有12號,和戰後式12號同時行走。若按照分七代,那拖卡是第幾代? 在欠缺年份的前提下,這種劃分明顯不夠全面。


1. 單層:1904年 (三等)
2. 雙層 (開篷無頂) :無
3. 全密封雙層:1925年
4. 戰後式:1952年
5. 1987年系列
6. 鋁製電車:2016年

* 12號是第一部1987年系列電車






[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.