1940s KCR Train near Chatham Road

Sat, 10/11/2014 - 19:31

Likely the photo was taken after WWII. Looks like a Comet tank on the flat-bed wagon.

Date picture taken


Submitted by
Anonymous (not verified)
Mon, 06/28/2010 - 16:20

The locomotive in this image is a postwar American WD (War Department) locomotive. Either a Baldwin or Alco. The KCR history books should state which. These locomotives were sent in their thousands to all the war zones including China to enable the wrecked railways to be restarted. The British also supplied their own version of WD locomotives to the KCR and these ran on the line until steam was superseded by diesal locomotives. There was in the 1980s a boiler at the KCR's Fo Tan workshops allegedly from one of these locomotives. A historic artifact!


That whole area was covered with Nissen Huts and military playing fields up until at least the 1970s and probably until about the time the first Cross Harbour Tunnel was built.  It's construction site was close by building the submerged steel tubes that comprise the tunnel bores Gradually over the years the number of other tracks in the picture used for storing wagons diminished. The Mariner's Club also had a seemingly littled used out-station clubhouse and playing field nearby on an extension of Austin Road just east of Chatham Road. Very useful for taking the kids to for a run around while parents sipped a beer or two on the patio. The car parking was free!It disappeared when the Polytechnic was built and Cheong Wan Road became a major throughfare. This area was also the scene of early powered flights by Harry Abbott in the 1920s who used the land along the seawall to fly his Curtiss Jenny from for demonstrations flights, generally at Happy Valley. After a number of incidents at this site he moved to Kai Tak where there was far more room and established his flying field there.


IDJ is right about this being an American locomotive although not a KCR one as is perhaps suggested.  After the 2nd World War the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration (UNRRA) sent 20 ex-Iran State Railways  S200 Class 2-8-2 locomotives to China. Six of these ( nos 701 -706)  were allocated to the Yueh-Han Railway Railway in 1946. However at least two of these (701 & 706) are known to have been loaned to the Chinese Section (CKR) of the Kowloon-Canton line for operating the through trains from Canton (Guangzhou). All told 200 locomotives of this type were manufactured for the US War Department, by Baldwin, ALCO and Lima locomotive works. 

I will add another photograph of one of these ( no. 705) passing Chatham Road Camp with the through train to Canton ( Guangzhou)

P. A. Crush

( HK Railway Society & Wikipedia's  "Chinarail")