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I had been wandering for hours (wandering = lost), forgot my map at home, and was on the Island to explore Central...or so I thought. After seeing the bijillionth tram go by, I had a momentary flash of brilliance! Pay the $2.50 HKD fare, have a seat and lazily watch the scenery go by. I jumped on board!

I found out some interesting history about the trams once I got back to the flat.

England sanctioned the building of a tramway system on Hong Kong Island on August 29, 1901. Due to continuous growth in population and economy in Hong Kong, residents' demand for a comprehensive transport system began in 1881. When Hong Kong Tramways was founded, the 26 tramcars of the first fleet were all single-deck.

In the beginning people didn't realize to stay out of their way. It became a battle of the mighty with the pedestrians getting a fine or a one month visit to prison.
In 1930 the first advertisement banner was seen on the side of a tram.

Then in 1941 Japanese occupation took place. Very limited tram service was provided. Only 12 tramcars were in operation daily from Causeway Bay to Western Market.
Then, in the 60's, they added a first class "caboose" to the tram. Due to passenger demand, the single deck trailer was introduced. The trailer was attached to the back of ordinary tramcar and was designed to serve first class passengers only. The maximum capacity was 36 persons for each trailer.
By the 70's there were 8 advertising banners on the tram (thanks "Mad Men").
Today, it is the world's largest fleet of double-deck tramcars still in operation. Since 1904, trams have been running from East to West of Hong Kong Island. Over the last century, Hong Kong Tramways witnessed the development of Hong Kong, and the tram remains an efficient and the most economical mode of public transport in Hong Kong. Today, Hong Kong Tramways owns and operates a fleet of 163 tramcars, including 2 antique tramcars, carrying a daily average of 230,000 passengers.

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copyright 2011-2017 Loxley Browne

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