MTR 1987 Community Chest Ticket

Continuing from the previous post, tonight we have a commemorative MTR ticket from 1987, most likely issued as part of a charity event for the Community Chest. Although I was in Hong Kong at that time, I don’t really have any recollection of this ticket. Googling around, I found this really cool website with lots of MTR history and info. Hope you enjoy this museum post!

MTR 1987 Community Chest Ticket - Sleeve MTR 1987 Community Chest Ticket - Sleeve

MTR 1987 Community Chest Ticket MTR 1987 Community Chest Ticket

KCR 1995 Merry Christmas Ticket

For this Merry Christmas edition of the Museum, we have a Kowloon-Canton Railway special Christmas ticket, circa 1995. It was part of my late aunt’s collection of KCR/MTR tickets, and I finally took the time to scan them on this Christmas Eve. I’ll be posting the rest of them in the coming days. For now, allow me to extend to you a 2016 Merry Christmas. Happy holidays!

KCR Christmas Ticket 1995

KCR Christmas Ticket 1995

MTR Single Journey Fare Table Circa 2010

Before smartphones I used to buy printed transportation guides when visiting Hong Kong. They were super useful for exploring around town and finding out what buses were nearby. Cleaning out my bookshelf tonight I found a few of these guides, and inside the 2010 one was this fare table. Interesting for comparison purposes.

MTR Single Journey Fares 2010
MTR Single Journey Fares 2010
HK Light Rail Fares 2010
HK Light Rail Fares 2010

Metro-Cammell England

Trains by Metro-Cammell
From MTR 35th Anniversary exhibit at Hong Kong Station – August 1, 2014

For tonight’s museum cum nostalgia post I decided to go back to exactly one year ago, today. At Hong Kong Station the MTR was showing an exhibit of its history, and this was one of the tickets on display.

Last month, it was announced that the remaining Metro-Cammell MTR trains in Hong Kong will be replaced after 30+ years of service. Knowing this, I’m glad I spent a year in Hong Kong riding the MTR to work every day. I rode the Island Line so it was always this model train, the ones that I remember from early childhood in the late 70s and early 80s, with the same sounds and even smells today that they had back then.

Pissed
Pissed on the MTR – August 5, 2014

As I mentioned in some previous updates, I was pissed at first from the crowds and the disingenuous politicians stating that the MTR was still under-capacity.

Admiralty Station Crowd
Admiralty Station rush hour – does this look under-capacity to you?

Once I grew accustomed to the crowds and the disingenuity in general of Hong Kong people, I started noticing things other than my own annoyance, which in turn led me to truly experience the nicer aspects of the MTR. Number one has to be predictability. You know that another train is never far behind, sometimes seconds behind during peak periods, so when a train does arrive but I’m not yet at the spot on the platform where I can get onto a car with less people, I can just continue on calmly if I’m not in the mood for sardines. The trains are all the same length. The cars are always well-air-conditioned and never stuffy. The staff in general are pretty helpful. And I just learned that the MTR has a 99.9% on-time rate.

When I was a kid, I loved getting on at Central (where we were guaranteed a seat) and peering out the window as the train started moving, cupping my hands around my eyes to keep the light out. There were pipes in the tunnel that I could see, and as the train passed them it looked like they were bouncing up and down. Once we got to Mong Kok to transfer, I hoped that both trains would depart at the same time, because for a very brief period you could see the train you were just on. It was sort of ethereal, a rectangle of light containing faces and bodies floating outside, looking like it was following us, the angle changing as the train changed direction, vanishing finally as the tunnels separated.

As a grownup, after taking the MTR every single day, I just automatically developed a routine. First of course is the zombie walk from home to the station (because not long prior I was still in bed). Then, it’s the walk down the stairs, knowing to watch for people who are coming up. Next is passing through the fare gate, knowing where the trouble areas are (tourists, mainlanders with big suitcases). Same thing with the escalators. If two are available, there’s always the one with less people because they’re too lazy to walk a couple of steps further. Then, the aforementioned best place on the platform to get on. As the train rolls in to the station and slows to a stop, I watch for openings and sometimes move one or two doors down so I can get to my favorite spot on the train: the doors on the opposite side.

Many people have their favorite spot on the train, especially if they’re a daily commuter. After a while, I realized my favorite place on the train was right next to the train doors, but not the place you might think. Most people like the spots at either ends of the doors, with your butt on the glass, right next to the face of someone who might be sitting down (see far left in “pissed” photo above). I never liked being the one with someone’s butt near my face, so I prefer to stay away from those spots. Instead, I choose to lean against one of the doors on the left side of the train. First, this spot is usually open because it’s not popular and is between those two popular ones. Second, for my journey to work the left doors open at only one station. Third, not many people get on or off at that station, so I can basically hang out at my spot indefinitely. Lastly, I can leave both hands free for electronic device usage by leaning back and spreading my feet to steady myself. In 30+ years I’ve never heard of anyone falling out due to the doors suddenly opening (gotta give it up to those British engineers), so I figure if it’s my turn to go, then I’d be okay with it.

It seems sort of appropriate that they would announce the end of these trains after we left Hong Kong. I already got a chance to experience them for real, develop a routine, rather than just take the MTR once or twice during a short vacation trip. If we don’t get another chance to ride these Metro Cammell trains, I think I’d also be okay with it.

As always, hope you enjoyed this trip down memory lane.

Further reading:
Metro Cammell from the London Historians’ Blog
Collection of even more old MTR tickets from British railroad enthusiast John Tilly

Old Octopus

Today’s museum post is a “figure out what to bring back to the U.S.” edition: an old yellow-colored Octopus card.

I found this card many years ago, I think on the floor of the lobby in my aunt’s flat. I brought it with me every time I came back to Hong Kong, but once I started living here I realized that it’s too old to work with the Octopus app on my phone, meaning that I couldn’t keep track of my daily Octopus expenses. It’s been sitting in my drawer ever since.

Old Yellow Octopus

I thought about keeping the card because it has some old logos on the back, but now that I’ve posted it to the museum I think it’s OK to return it to the MTR. Unlike my Sega Genesis games, I don’t think I’ll regret getting rid of this card. Enjoy the museum!

Old Yellow Octopus - Back

Che Kung Temple KCR Ticket

Che Kung Temple KCR Ticket - Front
A most colorful ticket
Che Kung Temple KCR Ticket - Back
Not so colorful on the back

For the first post of 2015 we have a museum post featuring a commemorative KCR ticket. I don’t know when this ticket was released but it must have been after 2004 when the Che Kung Temple Station opened.

This ticket is 31327 out of at least 66000. I was only able to find two other references to it on Google, here and here.

There will be more MTR/KCR tickets in the future. As always, hope you’ve enjoyed this museum post!

Early A.M. MTR

Waiting for First Train at North Point - June 15, 2007
Waiting for the first train at North Point – June 15, 2007 5:59 AM

I had the morning shift this morning so I was on the MTR at 6:30. It wasn’t quite the first train, but it was close enough to make me think of summer 2007, when I took the first train of the day. At that time, I wrote in my journal:

When I left the hotel this morning it was before 6AM. There were quite a few people out and about already. The weather didn’t feel so bad. So far, it has not met my expectations, which is a good thing. I knew that I should find something to eat, but wasn’t really sure from where. I thought I’d check out the MTR station, but it wasn’t even open yet. I thought that was amusing. I checked the sign and it said the first train wouldn’t arrive until 0606. I decided to walk around to see what, if any, places there were to eat.

When the MTR’s gates finally opened, I went downstairs, only to find that the fare gates all had red Xs on them. I wanted to take a picture but my hands were full, plus I was eating my breakfast. When they opened the gate, I went inside and waited for the train. I tried to imagine what kind of jobs the people I saw were going to.

Over 7 years later I am on the other side and don’t have to imagine what kind of job I’m going to because I know it, because I’m experiencing it. Experience has also taught me that if the person I am today were seeing an entire row of red Xs for the first time, I wouldn’t be afraid and would find a way to take that photo.