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Old November 27th, 2009, 06:07 PM   #241
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41 injured as two trams collide
Suddenly our tram shot forward, and then there was a bang, witness says

27 November 2009
South China Morning Post











Forty-one people were injured in a rare accident yesterday when two trams collided head-on at a busy junction in Causeway Bay.

The injured, many of them elderly, suffered bruises and abrasions when they were hurled to the floor by the impact at the junction of Percival Street and Hennessy Road just before 2.30pm.

Police were investigating whether one of the trams jumped a red light.

Only two of the injured passengers needed to be admitted to hospital. The rest were treated and sent home.

Senior Inspector Raimond Lo Wah-ching of the Hong Kong Island traffic investigation unit said an initial investigation had found no mechanical faults.

"We will check if the traffic lights and the trams' sensors were functioning properly{hellip} we will also see if there was human negligence," he said.

Asked whether one of the trams might have jumped a red light, he said: "That is the possibility."

The collision happened as an eastbound tram negotiating a right turn from Hennessy Road into Percival Street collided with one heading west along Hennessy Road towards Central.

The westbound tram - its exterior decorated with a road safety poster - had its front end deformed and the driver's compartment floor bent.

Traffic piled up to Hing Fat Street in Tin Hau on westbound lanes and to Wan Chai's Southorn Playground in the opposite direction.

A passenger who was standing on the upper floor of the westbound train said the accident should not have happened. "Our tram was stopping before the red light when the opposite tram made the right turn, but suddenly our tram shot forward, and then there was a bang," he said.

Another passenger, who was on the lower floor of the same tram, said many passengers fell off their seats. "A woman hit her head and bled, a few others cried at the shock, but they were quite calm otherwise," she said.

Five fire engines and 11 ambulances were sent to the scene two minutes after the crash. No one was trapped. The injured were taken to Queen Mary, Ruttonjee and Eastern hospitals.

Hong Kong Tramways said the two drivers, aged 38 and 46, have been with the company for nine and 14 years respectively and both were experienced.

Hong Kong Tramway Union honorary president Ho Chi-kin said the union always warned drivers to be careful at that junction, where the trams' movements are controlled by points. "They must always make sure the track is in place before making the turn, and drivers should always wait until the other one is entirely out of the way before starting their own tram," he said.

Tram drivers are required to key in a code representing their route at the tram depot before heading off, so the central computer can arrange necessary track movements at various junctions, but the trams are mainly controlled by the drivers.

A chain collision involving a tram, a minibus and a truck happened almost six years ago to the day in the same area.

In that accident, a tram went off a track outside the Sogo department store on Hennessy Road, hit a minibus which then crashed into a truck. Four people were injured.
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Old November 30th, 2009, 07:08 PM   #242
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 03:57 PM   #243
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By 38.HKT.138 from a Hong Kong discussion forum :











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Old December 11th, 2009, 06:40 PM   #244
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Faster future looms as trams reach turning point
Faster trams on track for change

11 December 2009
South China Morning Post

Hong Kong's lumbering but beloved trams are set to get a little faster.

They will also run more frequently in some areas and less so in others if plans by the century-old service's new operator come to fruition.

It is not known yet by how much the speed and frequency will change, because much depends on whether Veolia Transport can win approval for at least one and possibly two new turning places, including one in Wan Chai or Causeway Bay.

Plans to revamp the city's oldest public transport system, worked out eight months after the French transport giant bought a 50 per cent stake from Wharf Holdings, follow a four-month study of passengers' travelling habits and demand.

The company plans not just to raise the trams' speed, frequency and technical efficiency, but also to remodel their interiors.

It wants to concentrate services in the western part of Hong Kong Island, where demand is highest. This means long routes such as the one between Kennedy Town and Shau Kei Wan - popular with sightseers as a leisurely way to tour the island's urban area - would become much less frequent, especially during peak hours.

The change would release capacity for new shorter routes between places such as Kennedy Town and Wan Chai, Wan Chai and Shau Kei Wan or Whitty Street and Causeway Bay.

Hong Kong Tramways managing director Bruno Charrade said the changes were aimed at improving frequency and addressing a mismatch in supply and demand.

"Demand in the west is generally higher than the east, but with long-haul trams not able to turn around until they reach their destination at North Point or Shau Kei Wan, trams in the west are always congested and passengers have to wait longer," he said.

As well as the Causeway Bay or Wan Chai turning place, the company in the long run hopes to build another in Quarry Bay. But it says gaining Transport Department approval will not be easy - especially for the one in Wan Chai.

"There are a lot of developments and activities around Johnston Road and it is not easy for us to find space," Charrade said.

With a higher proportion of short routes, many passengers heading beyond Causeway Bay and Wan Chai will have to switch trams, but Charrade said the schedules would be rationalised so they would usually be able to get on to another tram immediately.

Free-transfer areas will be established at the turning areas so commuters who switch trams will not have to pay an additional fare.

Veolia also plans to install a fleet-management system to help maintain the spacing between trams and prevent bunching.

"If the system detects that several trams are tailing one another, a signal will be sent to the second and the third trams, directing them to slow down to maintain good spacing," Charrade said.

Tram speeds now range from 6 to 16km/h and it is still not clear how much faster they can go or by how much frequency can be improved, as this depends on how many of the plans can be implemented.

Peak-hour frequency is about one a minute and Charrade said cutting this by 15 seconds would make the operation much smoother.

In July, the new management team polled 2,000 passengers to study their travelling patterns and their opinions of the trams.

It found that a majority of frequent tram travellers were working adults and students who tended to board trams in Central, Western and Wan Chai on eastbound routes, while westbound passengers tended to take longer trips.
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Old December 14th, 2009, 06:56 AM   #245
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Operator seeks more sole lanes for safety
11 December 2009
South China Morning Post

Hongkong Tramways is seeking more exclusive lanes to reduce the accident rate at black spots - including the junction in Causeway Bay where two trams collided last month.

Because they travel at low speeds, trams are not usually thought of as accident-prone, but last year, the company recorded 200 accidents, one-fifth of them at one black spot, Johnston Road. The incidents ranged from collisions to rough braking that threw passengers around.

While Transport Department figures show that the number of accidents involving trams had declined over the years, the managing director of Hongkong Tramways, Bruno Charrade, said problems at certain areas were getting worse.

"The accident rate in, for example, Johnston Road, is pretty high, as traffic there is chaotic at all times," he said.

Illegal parking and trucks and cargo vans unloading goods always occupy one of the three lanes on Johnston Road, leaving only two lanes to cope with the heavy traffic coming from Central.

At busy times, vehicles cut into the tram route to overtake other cars, sometimes causing tram drivers to brake heavily.

Rumsey Street, Ka On Street, Tin Lok Lane and Percival Street were also identified as black spots.

Charrade said the disappearance of reserved tram lanes had contributed to the problem.

Authorities have continued to open reserved tram lanes to other vehicles over the years - especially around Wan Chai and Fortress Hill - as traffic has increased. Only 43 per cent of the tram line has lanes that are reserved solely for trams.

"We understand many forms of transport are competing for limited road space," Charrade said. "We don't want to ask for something unrealistic, but we hope some compromises can be made."

That included adjustment in certain road regulations, such as banning vehicles from making turns at busy junctions, and giving trams back their priority at critical junctions.
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Old December 21st, 2009, 05:39 AM   #246
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Tram deal may translate to better service after all
12 December 2009
South China Morning Post

Trams are unknown to most cities, or to be found only in transport museums or in the loving care of historical societies. In Hong Kong, they remain a loved part of collective memory for several generations, the city's oldest form of public transport and living heritage. Given that this city does not have a shining reputation for conservation, the news that conglomerate Wharf had sold a 50 per cent stake in Hong Kong Tramways - and operating rights - to a French multinational naturally gave rise to some trepidation. Could Veolia Transport - or anyone familiar with the leisurely boulevards and avenues of Paris - really understand that Hong Kong people are used to sharing their narrow, winding and congested streets with these unyielding old bone-shakers, and do not want change? Or would it throw its hands in the air and shout, Ce n'est pas possible!

Happily, the water and waste management, energy and transport giant boasts of its green credentials on its website, and has a track record in operating environmentally friendly technology to back them up. Age difference aside, that is a perfect match with our old trams, whose clean, electric technology has made them a fashionable choice again. Hopes that this would ensure that services are improved without sacrificing their uniqueness may not be disappointed. After a four-month study of our tram-travelling habits and demand, Hong Kong Tramways' new managing director, Bruno Charrade, has revealed plans to make the trams do what even we thought was impossible - go a little faster, and also a little slower at times, to avoid bunching at stops and improve the frequency of service. We would like to see that.

A lot depends on whether Veolia can convince the government to look into providing at least one new turning place in either Causeway Bay or Wan Chai so the frequency of service can be increased for the western part of Hong Kong Island, where demand is highest.

Given the congestion of those two places, it is the government that may end up saying Ce n'est pas possible! We trust Monsieur Charrade can be very persuasive.
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Old January 10th, 2010, 05:27 PM   #247
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By ML29 from a Hong Kong transport forum :









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Old January 18th, 2010, 05:27 PM   #248
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Old January 19th, 2010, 03:58 PM   #249
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Old February 13th, 2010, 05:28 AM   #250
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No 172 offers a glimpse of trams to come
12 February 2010
SCMP





From the outside, it looks like any other tram, but the interior of No 172 as it trundles around Hong Kong's tracks gives a hint of what future trams may look like.

Among other changes, the bench on the lower deck has been replaced with individual seats, the cabin is bathed in soft LED lighting and there are panels and announcements informing passengers of the next stop.

The tram, which also has a new motor, has been on test runs for some time as part of plans by the trams' new operator, Veolia Transport, to modernise the century-old service.

The French company, which bought a 50 per cent stake in Hong Kong Tramways from Wharf (Holdings) last year, is also testing a new braking and cable system, trying out new maintenance methods on rail tracks to reduce noise and working with the government on ways to revamp its routes to improve the trams' speed, frequency and efficiency.

It was reported earlier that Tramways was seeking to introduce three turning points along the line between Shau Kei Wan and Kennedy Town so that the 1-1/2-hour journey could be broken up into shorter loops with a greater frequency of service, although passengers would have to switch trams - at no charge.

Managing director Bruno Charrade said he hoped the proportion of people who spent less than 2-1/2 minutes waiting for a tram would jump from 75 per cent to about 90 per cent if the Transport Department approved the proposal. However, it would not be easy to find the space to turn the trams in some proposed locations, such as Wan Chai.

The company also plans to expand its 163-tram fleet to be able to offer a greater frequency of service.

Charrade said he did not have a figure yet for the scheme's cost or its impact on fares. Passengers who responded to a survey in July last year said they were willing to pay more for improved service.

"We hope passengers will not ride on trams simply because we are the cheapest but also because of our service quality," Charrade said.

A tram ride now costs only HK$2 for adults, ad HK$1 for children and seniors.

The survey found that nearly two-thirds of tram passengers are full-time workers, while the more price-sensitive patrons, including retirees, students and housewives, make up about 29 per cent.

Charrade said that while the tram's new interior look would be modified to take the public's opinions into account, the lower deck would have fewer seats and more standing space.

Panels on the trams would display the next stop, which would also be announced, and panels at major stations would display information about arrival times and any delays.

Tramways staff are scheduled to begin welding and grinding work on the tracks next month to double their lifespan and reduce the noise caused by friction between the wheels and the tracks.
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Old February 13th, 2010, 08:00 AM   #251
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Isn't 172 the air-conditioned tram that has never run in service since being built over 7+ years ago?

I really hope the French can make some progress despite the dead hand of Wharf and the TD being on them.

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Old February 13th, 2010, 08:48 AM   #252
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KSD101 View Post
Isn't 172 the air-conditioned tram that has never run in service since being built over 7+ years ago?

I really hope the French can make some progress despite the dead hand of Wharf and the TD being on them.

Stuart
172's body doesn't look like the A/C one. The A/C one looks just like 168 :

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Old February 18th, 2010, 04:18 PM   #253
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Old February 25th, 2010, 09:57 AM   #254
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French complete the tramcar revolution with heritage vow
The Standard

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Hong Kong's iconic tram service will be placed entirely under a French firm's control next month after Wharf Transport Investments agreed to sell its remaining 50 percent stake to Veolia Transport China.

But Veolia has promised to preserve the heritage value of the service, which was launched in 1904, as the public continues to mourn the loss of another historic icon, the old Star Ferry terminal.

The two firms announced yesterday that Veolia will exercise its option, which will expire at the end of March, to acquire Wharf's remaining ownership in Hong Kong Tramways, but both parties declined to reveal how much the deal is worth.

However, the amount involved in the deal is likely to be unveiled in the annual financial results of Wharf Holdings (0004).

"From our very first approach to Wharf Transport, it has always been our intention to own the tram business fully," said Daniel Cukierman, chief executive at Veolia.

"After nearly one year of management of the company, we are confident and ready to execute the option. "We are conscious that the tram is a cherished part of the heritage of Hong Kong and will preserve it while doing our best to improve it."

All staff would retain their jobs after the change in ownership.

"We share Hong Kong people's attachment to the century-old tram service, an important icon in Hong Kong's heritage," said Frankie Yick, a director of Wharf Transport.

Shares of Wharf Holdings rose 2.12 percent to HK$40.9 yesterday.

Hong Kong Tramways last week said it plans to invest more on service improvement.

Some of the initiatives are expected to be implemented soon, including maintenance and upgrading of tram tracks, improvements to the overhead line system with better wires, and increasing the frequency of trams.

Hong Kong Tramways, established in 1904, was operated by Wharf from 1974.

It currently employs 700 staff and has 163 tramcars, two of which are antiques.

It carries about 240,000 passengers on average each day.
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Old March 27th, 2010, 08:33 PM   #255
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Old April 8th, 2010, 06:11 PM   #256
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Source : http://www.fotop.net/benba





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Old April 8th, 2010, 06:18 PM   #257
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Love these double-deckers. A recent pic I made.

image hosted on flickr
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Old April 17th, 2010, 07:43 PM   #258
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Old June 16th, 2010, 08:18 PM   #259
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By kobe_lakers from a Hong Kong photography forum :







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Old July 25th, 2010, 05:21 PM   #260
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Outcry halts tram changes
12 July 2010
The Standard

Hong Kong Tramways yesterday shelved a new rostering system that was to have taken effect today after its union threatened industrial action.

The company will come up with a substitute rostering proposal in two weeks.

The shelved roster would have extended working hours from eight a day to 12.

In some cases, drivers were to start at 9am, take a six-hour unpaid rest in the afternoon and end their shift at 11pm.

Their lunchtime was to have been extended to an hour but the extra half hour would have been unpaid.

About 30 drivers protested outside the Whitty Street depot yesterday over the roster, which the company issued on Thursday without consulting staff.

They chanted slogans and stuck protest signs on trams, accusing the company of ignoring their rights.

Driver Chu Chi-kong said money is not the issue, as what matters most is the toll the new hours would place on family life.

``I used to leave at two or three in the afternoon so I can take care of my daughter before her mother returns home at 6pm,'' he said. ``But now I have to work until 8pm so no one can take care of her,'' he said.

``Everyone wants to make more money but not by leaving my little girl alone at home.''

The Hong Kong Tramways Workers Union, which led the protest, also accused the company of neglecting passengers' safety.

Drivers cheered when they heard talks involving the company and their union, mediated by government officials and legislator Ip Wai-ming, had resulted in the shelving of the new roster.

Ip said the company admitted there may have been insufficient consultation.

Tramways said the new roster was a response to demand during rush hours.

The French company Veolia Transport, which employs 77,591 people in 28 countries, took over Hong Kong Tramways from Wharf Limited in March.
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