I love train travel. One of the train systems I’ve frequented the most is the Kowloon-Canton Railway.
The KCR, as it’s known in Hong Kong, opened 101 years ago in British Hong Kong. A year later, it linked up with a line in China to the city of Canton (present day Guangzhou [another day I’ll blog about Wade Giles vs. pinyin, a hard obsession of mine]).
My home station in Hong Kong was University Station, up past Shatin in the New Territories. In this photo, taken on January 1, 1967, twenty-three years before I arrived in HK, the station called Ma Liu Shui was officially changed to University Station. Those old school signs aren’t in use anymore.
In their trips to Hong Kong, my mom and her family traveled this line before I was born. Maybe living along the KCR was in my blood before I knew it?
My uncle took this photo of the KCR terminus in Tsim Sha Tsui in 1971, the year after I was born. The clock tower still stands, although the train terminals are long gone. (The terminus, when I lived in Hong Kong in the 1990s, was at Hung Hom, but a new one was built in TST East after I left.)
Nice view, eh?
The New Territories back then consisted of green farm land, scattered with some hotels and restaurants along the KCR line.
This is what my grandparents saw in 1974, somewhere between Kowloon Station and the end of the line up near the China border.
And this is my grandma near China. Of course China was still closed to Americans back then. The KCR discontinued through trains in 1949 and only opened them again in 1979. Is it a coincidence the KCR continued through service the year the US restored relations with China? It’s so Cold War!
Back to the train. Here’s a look at one from 1974. Oh, to have traveled on that thing every day to and from school.
If you have any KCR memories, I’d love to hear them! The Mass Transit Railway, the other train (and underground) line in Hong Kong, bought the KCR company and incorporated that route into its web of other routes. The KCR is no more.