The scene of the Hung Hom Bay reclamation in 1909 where an extensive tract of land was being reclaimed from the sea for the Kowloon-Canton Railway’s tracks to a Kowloon terminus as well as for a railway depot, sidings and shunting yards. On the left of the photo are two buildings, one with a tall chimney stack, which was the site of Kowloon's first electricity plant, completed in 1903.
Much of the fill for this reclamation was obtained from the railway’s No.1 cutting through the Kowloon foothills , just north of where today’s HK Polytechnic University now stands. It was transported from the excavation site to the seashore in German-made dump carts on temporarily laid railway tracks, later reused for the permanent lines.
An extract of a comment from the China Mail reprinted in The Far Eastern Review of November 1909 describes the massive transformation to nature’s muddy Kowloon coast, writing in the literary style of American humourist writers schooled during the just fading Victorian era.
“Could a bird's eye view of the territory be taken a remarkable change would be observable in nature's surface. Through the gaunt red hills men are fighting their way with pick and shovel, with crowbar and dynamite. From Father Neptune the artificer and the coolie and the four-man shovel and the little train are claiming something for the convenience, the comfort and the use of future peoples.
"The sea in Hunghom Bay is being made to give up its own, and gradually a force more powerful than the bosom of Mrs. Partington is forcing back the blue waters of the harbor to make room for better things. The reclamation work for the railway station and shunting yard site is proceeding apace. What six months ago was a damp sea bed and an unoccupied tract of shore where dirty junks were cleaned with fire and the sampan people spread out their belongings on wash days, now constitutes a scene of rare activity. Every day sees a couple of puffing engines dragging truck loads of earth from away in the red hills and emptying them into the sea. Railway lines have been laid, engine sheds have been erected, offices have been built for the staff and altogether the whole of the appurtenances necessary to carry on such a work as the building of a line and the establishment of a railway station which will one day be the other end of a stretch of gleaming girdle linking the furthest cities on the hemisphere, are established or in course of preparation “
This series of following pictures, shows various construction activities in support of the Hung Hom Bay Reclamation. These include the rock excavation for the No.1 rail cutting near Hung Hom and the short No.1 tunnel immediately north of Yaumatei Station (later renamed Mongkok).