The tracks of time

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 01 December, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 December, 2007, 12:00am

Today will see the last train journey of the century-old Kowloon-Canton Railway, which merges with the MTR tomorrow. These photographs tracing the history of the railway are from the British Library, the University of Hong Kong and the book A Century of Commitment - The KCRC Story, published by the KCRC.


The United Kingdom's Imperial Railway Administration signs a preliminary agreement in May with the Beijing government to build a railway line from Canton to Kowloon


The British section between Tsim Sha Tsui and the border crossing at Lo Wu opens in October


The colonial government decides to replace steam with diesel locomotives, a fatal explosion with one of the steam engine trains pushing the changeover


Mobilisation of all civil servants and KCRC staff in May to curb a sudden influx of refugees from the mainland in light of Mao Zedong's new 'Great Leap Forward' policy. Trains operate all day to repatriate those captured


The last steam train ceases operation, marking an end of the steam engine era


The old KCRC Tsim Sha Tsui terminus migrates in November to Hung Hom; the government decides not to keep the old station as a heritage site


The new era of an electrified train system begins in July and the last diesel train passes into history


The unstable new system creates eight serious blunders, each leading to service disruptions of up to four hours


The first phase of the Light Rail Transit system opens in September


The government receives the first profits, amounting to HK$125 million, from KCRC's operation


In February, the Legislative Council approves HK$29 billion in funding for the construction of West Rail


The KCRC comes under fire in February for paying HK$100 million extra to West Rail telecommunications contractor Siemens, which failed to complete work on time


West Rail is plagued by a string of service disruptions caused by signal failures


A train compressor comes loose in December. More cracks are later found in mountings of other compressors. An investigation concluded it was caused by substandard welding by the manufacturers


KCRC acting chief executive Samuel Lai Man-hay and 20 general managers start a coup in March to drive out chairman Michael Tien Puk-sun. Mr Lai resigns eight days later


The KCRC signs a merger agreement with the MTR Corp in April


The two railway services merge on December 2