Blend of Time
Fragrant Harbour - Victoria Harbour Hong Kong
Trams - Ding Ding
Tram – Ding Ding – A Ride Into History?

Are the Hong Kong tram – “Ding Ding” – a ride into history?  Based on a consultants recommendation that is being put before government in Oct 2015 this might be the case in Central and Admiralty.  What they are doing is cutting off the heart of the system.  Besides the fact that the tram is an icon of Hong Kong that used to run along the harbour it has survived so much change.  Why now would this now be something that would be bought up?  We are seeing a sense of “sameness” spreading like a virus in not only Chinese cities but International financial centers.  They look at the value of what something is based on each separate component rather than those that can’t be easily calculated.  Removing the lines would barely impact traffic as most traffic issues are based on cars standing by to pick up the elite.  Bus traffic has already been cut back a bit as the MTR has expanded to Kennedy Town.  Is it possible that the storage yards are the valued property that the city and real-estate developers are eyeing.  Thinking like this is very short term as in the long term Hong Kong will no longer have those things that make it Hong Kong such as the trees giving shade in old neighbourhoods, neon lights, historic buildings, local markets and the list goes on and on.

Make a difference and let the government hear your thoughts.

Trams (香港電車)also known locally as the “ding ding” in Hong Kong have not only been a form of commuter transport for over since 1904.  Today it’s not only one of the most affordable ways to get around HK$2.30.  It’s a great way of travelling with locals who are in no hurry to go from point A to point B.   They are one of the most environmentally friendly ways of travelling in Hong Kong. It’s the only tram system in the world operated exclusively with double-decker trams, and is one of only three non-heritage tram systems in the world that use double-deck cars.  The track length is 13km in length.  The track is often shared with delivery bikes running about with lunch and other small shipments.

As they run through the urban area of Hong Kong Island only, the tram tracks has become an important icon of urban Hong Kong. Since the tracks were originally built along the waterfront before further land reclamation pushed the coastline northwards, the tracks can be used to identify directions and locations throughout urban Hong Kong Island. Trams - Ding DingThe future of the Tram (Ding Ding) is very safe as the cultural important of this moving heritage that adds a true sense of uniqueness to such a modern city.  As the city transforms and everything else changes the exterior of the tram is safe.  The operator is modernizing the fleet and there have been talk about air-conditioning the trams.  The old Kai Tak area that is being transformed into many new uses including the new Kai Tak Cruise Terminal has been considering a tram line on Kowloon as it’s financially more beneficial than a monorail but that debate is ongoing.

紅燈飯 “red light meals” In the old days, the duration of meal breaks allocated to tram drivers were far from adequate. Most drivers would therefore take advantage of the time their trams are waiting at a red light to gulp down a portion of their meal before the signal turns to green, continuing this practice whenever the tram comes to a red light until the meal is finished. This kind of hurried, impromptu meal.  Today the working conditions are much better but they still have their own signal lights.Photographer Tips:  Start at any of the end points and go directly to upper deck.  The front and back windows open so one can shoot without glass in the way.  A zoom lens is ideal for catching the scenes that can only be seen here in HK.  A wide angle will give you a much better reflection of the whole skyline that you’re travelling through.  One could spend about 90 minutes or more going from Shau Kei Wan to Western Market that is my recommended route going from east to west.  To see how the city and light changes I recommend doing it during a sunset so you enter Admiralty and Central as neon lights come alive.  It’s also worth doing on a wet day but recommend going to the back of the tram as the rain makes it hard for shooting.  It’s also worth going east to North Point as the tram goes through the local wet market at North Point.

Why “Ding Ding”? The trams themselves are sometimes called the “Ding Ding” (Chinese: 叮叮) by Hong Kong people, being the onomatopoeia of the iconic double bell ring trams use to warn pedestrians of their approach. The term “ding ding” is now often used to refer to the whole tram system, e.g. “travel by tram” (Chinese: 搭電車) as “take ding ding” (搭叮叮). For those with kids or a sense of adventure can actually find the device that makes the iconic sound.  To date my 5 year son has not be asked not to ding along.  The driver has one at the front but at the back of the tram you will find one on the floor in the middle.  The lower back platform is a good place to stand when taking a short trip but note that this is the only entrance and people will be wanting to get in so warned it can get busy.

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