Sha Tau Kok Railway

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Steam locomotive W.G. Bagnall 0-4-4T, used on former Sha Tau Kok Branch Line.
Former Hung Ling Station of the Sha Tau Kok Railway. Most of the stations of this railway have been demolished except this one.

The Sha Tau Kok Railway (Chinese: 沙頭角鐵路) was a 2 ft (610 mm) narrow gauge railway running from Fanling to Sha Tau Kok in the northern New Territories of Hong Kong.

Map of alignment of Fan Ling to Sha Tau Kok narrow gauge railway

The line began service on 1 April 1912. It was built reusing the narrow gauge works railway tracks and rolling stock previously used to help construct the British Section of the Kowloon-Canton Railway, which had been completed and opened for traffic some 18 months earlier in 1910. For the first four miles from Fanling to a point close to the village of Au Ha the railway was constructed alongside and as part of a new road. From Au Ha to Sha Tau Kok the geography required that the line took its own less easy route, involving gradients as steep as 1:45 and curves of radius down to 150 feet.[1] Some of the old rails and a tunnel can still be traced through the dense foliage of the countryside today.

In 1924 the Hong Kong Government decided to extend the existing motor road from Au Ha to Sha Tau Kok. The line ceased operation on April 1, 1928 as a result of falling patronage and revenues due to competition from motor vehicles using the recently completed Sha Tau Kok Road.

After the closure of the line in 1928, two W G Bagnall Limited locomotives purchased in December 1923 and used on the railway from mid 1924 until the line closed were sold by the Hong Kong Government to the North Negros Sugar Company of Iloilo in the Philippines. There until 1990 they were first used to transport cut sugar cane to nearby sugar mills, and later for track maintenance and shunting work. Subsequently in 1995 they were re-acquired by the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation and brought back to Hong Kong, where one, after restoration, is now on display in the Hong Kong Railway Museum. In 2007 the second Bagnall locomotive was donated by the Corporation to the Phyllis Rampton Narrow Gauge Railway Trust in the UK for restoration back to working condition and possible running on the Vale of Rheidol Railway in Wales.[2]

Stations[edit]

The short line had the following stations:

  • Fanling (Interchange station for the KCR mainline)
  • Hung Leng or Hung Ling
  • Wo Hang
  • Shek Chung Au
  • Sha Tau Kok

When the line closed, Fanling continue to be in service until today, and the station building of Hung Leng is preserved.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation: A History, R. J. Phillips, Urban Council Publication
  2. ^ Boyd-Hope, Gary (January 2009). "Rheidol revival". Steam Railway 358: 91–5.