Tramway Service during the Japanese occupation, WW2
Elizabeth Ride has sent the following summation of BAAG reports about Tramway services from 1942 through to September 1944.
John Smith kindly typed out the original report.
The HONGKONG tramway, which was extensively damaged at certain points during hostilities, was partially restored on 27 January 1942 and a full service along the entire route was resumed on 20 March 1942.
Up to December 1943, 6 routes were maintained, viz:- (1) SHAUKIWAN-KENNEDY TOWN (2) SHAUKIWAN-WHITTY STREET (3) SHAUKIWAN-HAPPY VALLEY-WHITTY STREET (4) CAUSEWAY BAY-WESTERN MARKET (5) HAPPY VALLEY KENNEDY TOWN (6) HAPPY VALLEY-WHITTY STREET. Between 40 and 50 tram cars were in service at the time against 112 available at the termination of hostilities.
It was reported in early 1943 that some cars had been shipped away. The number of passengers averaged about 100,000 daily.
In March 1944, the service was maintained between 0600 and 2330 hrs, but the electricity shortage necessitated a reduction of service, and in April 1944 it was reported that only one car was running every hour on each of the routes.
In May 1944, a further drastic curtailment was affected, the number of routes being cut down to one (QUARRY BAY – WHITTY STREET) and the hours of service limited to 0700-1000 hrs and 1600-2030 hrs.
The service for the general public was entirely suspended in June 1944, and although for a time after this a few cars were still being operated in the mornings and evenings for the convenience of dockyard workers and Japanese schoolchildren, even these were believed to have been taken off subsequently.
A report received in September 1944 stated that the tram cars were being dismantled and shipped to Japan, and that 2electric generators belonging to the HONGKONG TRAMWAY Co. had also been removed.
The track was said to be in a bad state of repair, while the overhead wiring was also reported to be extensively damaged and could not be replaced. No recent information is available as to whether the line is still intact, or the number of cars actually remaining in HONGKONG, but it is known that the Japanese have stripped vehicles of metal parts.
The TRAMWAY co. workshop in RUSSELL Street is now used for the manufacture of arms and ammunition.
- For general information about the Elizabeth Ride collection, her father Sir Lindsay Ride, and the British Army Aid group during WW2 a very useful introduction is through http://gwulo.com/node/13968
- The BAAG papers are kept at the Hong Kong Heritage Project
The Index contains many articles using BAAG reports from WW2. And about industry in HK during that time.
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