1964 HK 42 Kowloon to Canton Railway.jpg | Gwulo: Old Hong Kong

1964 HK 42 Kowloon to Canton Railway.jpg

1964 HK 42 Kowloon to Canton Railway.jpg
Date picture taken (may be approximate): 
Wednesday, January 1, 1964


There's a large group of people sitting and standing in the space between the front carriage and the engine.

Was it common practice at the time? If yes, was it done because there wasn't any room inside the carriage or to get some breeze on a hot day?

I think the train was travelling at a slow speed and braking to a halt. The passengers were probably queueing up to be the first ones to get off.

I and my family have certainly travelled like that on the balconys due to over-crowding. There are pictures of school-children sat on the balcony steps as the train progresses. The trains only moved very slowly compared with today's trains.  The sides of the tracks were not fenced so they were used as walkways by villagers.

Thanks for the feedback, and to IDJ who sent in these photos of similar scenes:

KCR -Carriage steps riders
KCR -Carriage steps riders, by IDJ


KCR -Carriage balcony riders
KCR -Carriage balcony riders, by IDJ

This was quite common in the mid to late 40's on trains between Canton and HK. I was a child then, and going quite often with my parents. And I saw people packed at festival times in between carriages and even holding on around the engine. I can still remember the smell of the smoke and soot - going through Lion Rock all the way until the introduction of steam engines and even for a year after.

Nice to see these extendable steps again! The deeper treads are strong to support heavy load without giving the slightest rattle. Regards, Peter

I remember that KCR trains were infrequent even in the 1970s, and during Sundays or public holidays huge crowds eager to go home after a day of enjoyment in the NewTerritories often gather at stations late afternoon or early evening. Minutes before a train arrive, KCR staff would warn people not to cross the train tracks, repeatedly and very loudly through loudspeakers. As soon as the train stopped, people push and shove their way on board until it is packed solid.

I also remember that sometimes passengers are allowed to travel in boxcars. Some young people would invariably find it adventurous or carefree to sit on the boxcar floor, with their legs hanging outside the open side door. A KCR staff member would come around and tell them that with the way they sit, they would all become cripples once the train cross a bridge (你地咁坐,架火車一過橋你地就變晒跛仔).