West Rail Day - Day 2

by - 21:22

MTR West Rail

The West Rail line was first put into operation on 20 December 2003 between Nam Cheong and Tuen Mun by Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC). The operation of the line was handed over to MTR in December 2007 following the merger of the 2 rail companies. The line was further extended to Hung Hom Station (which connects with the East Rail line) following the completion of the Kowloon Southern Link in August 2009.

A day pass is available for the West Rail Line, and it costs HKD20. It allows for unlimited travel on the West Rail between Nam Cheong station and Tuen Mun station, as well as on the LRT system and MRT feeder bus. The pass comprises of a magnetic ticket for use on the West Rail, as well as a stamped ticket folder which serves as a 'bus pass'. The magnetic ticket has to be presented together with the ticket folder in order for the day pass to be considered as valid upon inspection.

It is available for purchase on the day of travel at passenger service centres along the West Rail line, and it comes highly recommended for visitors as a single trip fare would already cost HKD12.90 from Nam Cheong to Tuen Mun. In addition, as the toilets are located within the paid area at MTR stations, the pass also has an innovative, if not unorthodox, use as a 'toilet' pass when required. Photobucket

We had an early start and took a bus to Nam Cheong MTR station in order to enjoy the full benefits of the day pass. The 2 prefix for the service number was used to indicate that it is a fully airconditioned bus service when the services was introduced.
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Nam Cheong Bus Terminal. A service 12A Dennis Dragon Non-Airconditioned double deck awaits its departure at the terminal with a Volvo Super Olympian on the same service parked behind it.
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Interior of a typical train carriage used on the West Rail line.
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Tuen Mun 屯門
After arriving at Tuen Mun station, we had breakfast at a Cafe de Coral outlet at Kam Wah Plaza at Tuen Mun Town Centre before proceeding to camp for photos of buses.

Affectionately known as 'hotdogs' by the locals, the non-airconditioned double decks in KMB's fleet are gradually being phased out in favour of new airconditioned buses. S3BL435 is a Leyland Olympian 11m fitted with original Leyland rims.
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KMB introduced a batch of 30 MAN 24.310 double decks in 2000, and were fitted with Berkhof bodywork. A subsequent batch of 17 similar double decks with Volgren bodywork and Euro III engines were brought into service in 2002. The MAN 24.310 are exclusive to Tuen Mun depot. The first bus of the batch, AMN1, is seen here working service 60M towards Tsuen Wan. KMB buses which are zero step and wheelchair accessible are painted gold in colour, as compared to the non wheelchair accessible models which are painted in white.
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The 'chameleon' scheme was one of the most bizarre liveries which ever introduced. The metallic paint would appear to be either in shades of green or purple depending on the angle from which it is viewed as well as the surrounding lighting conditions.
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Long Win Bus was set up by KMB to operate services between the Airport and the New Territories. The E prefix services also serve the surrounding maintenance area which is located next to the Airport Terminal. However, larger pieces of luggage are usually not allowed on board these services. 8402, one of the newer Enviro 500s in the fleet, was photographed operating service E33.
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Light Rapid Transit (LRT) Network

The LRT network was placed into operation in 1988 as a feeder commuter train service serving the residential estates in Tuen Mun, Yuen Long and Tin Shui Wai. The fares are charged based on the number of zones crossed, and Octopus card users enjoy free rides on the LRT system upon transferring to/from the West Rail line. The system is based on trust as there are no ticket barriers at the station platforms.

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Siu Hong 兆康
Siu Hong LRT station is the main transfer station for the LRT network and has an unqiue triangular platform to faciliate transfers. It is also an interchange station for the MTR West Rail.

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Hung Shui Kiu LRT Station
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From Hung Shui Kiu station, we transferred to an Enviro 200 on service K75 to Tin Shui Wai. In addition to the LRT station, MTR also operates feeder bus services to connect passengers to the West Rail line.

Tin Shui Wai 天水圍

Enviro 200 leaving on another trip on service K75 with the Tin Shui Wai MTR station in the background.
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Despite presence of an oversized radiator grille at the front, 0229 is a Plaxton bodied Volvo Olympian which has the engine situated at the rear instead.
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Lau Fau Shan 流浮山

Lau Fau Shan is a fishing village located at the northwestern coast of New Territories near Tin Shui Wai.

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MTR feeder service K65 links Lau Fan Shan, Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long. This route is operated by Volvo B10M fitted with Northern Counties bodywork and ZF gearbox, and sounds exactly like the Volvo B10M MkIVs in SBS Transit's fleet!
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An ornamental archway bearing the village's name at a roundabout.
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The main specialty at Lau Fau Shan are fresh oysters, which are cleaned, sorted and sold as soon as they are harvested from the sea.
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In addition, one can also find a large variety of other seafood and related products along the main street or dine at one of the many seafood restaurants and eateries.
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Yuen Long 元朗

Sweet Corn is a regular feature in Hong Kong's food, and are frequently used to accompany meat dishes. Despite its gooey appearance, this dish of sweet corn with bacon and rice actually tasted quite nice! Most set meals include a free hot drink, but it was so hot that day that most of us gladly topped up (~HKD2-3) for a cold drink instead. It was supposed to be winter in Hong Kong, but the temperatures felt just like we were back in Singapore.
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After our lunch, we decided to make further use of the excellent afternoon sunlight to obtain more photos of buses.

3AD146 is a full length (12m) Dennis Dragon bodied with a Duple Metsec bodywork.
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As a measure to reduce the crowd at Luohu checkpoint, 2 new checkpoints were opened in recent years to allow for a more fuss free entry into Shenzhen. A Neoplan Centroliner was found working on service B1 which links Tin Shui Wai and Yuen Long to the new Lok Ma Chau (Futian) checkpoint (which is not to be confused with the previously existing Lok Ma Chau-Huanggang checkpoint).
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KMB Service 968
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Service 968 provides an alternative to the West Rail line for passengers travelling from Yuen Long to Sheung Wan, Central and Causeway Bay via the Western Harbour Crossing (hence the '9' prefix).

An Enviro 500 departs Yuen Long (West) Terminal on service 968 with an advertisement promoting a sequel to the popular Chinese movie, 风云. After a 10 year absence, intense advertising is definitely needed to drum up interest in the movie, and there is no better way to do it than on the side of a double deck!
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Yuen Long (West) Terminal is located near Fung Nin Rd LRT station, and is tucked away behind several buildings next to Yuen Long Plaza. ATEU5 is an Enviro 500 which meets the stringent Euro IV emission standards. This photo shows the curious design of the emergency exit, which is basically a large piece of tempered glass with the bottom half blanked off in order to meet regulatory requirements.

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An LED display at the waiting berth shows the service number, estimated time of departure as well as the fare. Most Hong Kong bus service employs a stage fare where it is most expensive to board the bus near its origin and becomes increasingly cheaper nearer to the destination.
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Soon after leaving Yuen Long, we are greeted with this scene near Lam Tsuen Country Park.
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Highway Route 3 to Kowloon.
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Transfer stop before Tai Lam Tunnel. There are interchange discounts when transferring to other bus stops at stops before and after the tunnel such that passengers do not have to double pay the premium incurred when using the tunnel.
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Entrance to Tai Lam tunnel. The 3.8km long tunnel was completed in 1998 under a government Build, Transfer, Operate (BTO) tender. The company responsible for building the tunnel is allowed to recuperate part of the costs by collecting tolls over a period of 30 years, which can amount to HKD120 for a double deck public bus! And you thought ERP was expensive enough.....
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Emerging from the Tai Lam tunnel, we quickly moved on to the Ting Kau Bridge which forms part of the Tsing Long Highway.
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The second of the three tunnels encountered during the route was the Cheung Tsing tunnel which runs beneath the hills of Tsing Yi Island.
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The Western Harbour Crossing is much emptier as compared to the heavily jammed Cross Harbour Tunnel. One main reason is that the tolls are much steeper here; it costs HK$115 for a double deck bus as compared to only $15 for the Cross Harbour Tunnel.
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Sheung Wan 上環

Shun Tak Centre is also where the Hong Kong-Macau Ferry Terminal is located.
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An off service NWFB Dennis Trident, 1429, shows off her driver's amazing parking skills.
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After purchasing the return ferry ticket for our Macau day, we proceeded to board service 2 for a short ride to Central Piers.
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Rickshaw Bus - Heritage Route H1
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The Rickshaw Bus was launched in October 2009 using a fleet of converted Volvo Olympian double decks. In order to potray the rickshaw theme, a canvas tarp is attached to the rear of the upper deck to give the impression of a rickshaw canopy. There are 2 routes which start from the bus stop in front of Central Pier 7, with a frequency of 30mins. More information about the service could obtained from this link:

Man Mo Temple 文武廟 along Hollywood Road. This temple worships the God of Literature, Man Cheong (文昌)and the God of War, Kuan Yu (關羽).
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Old Central Police Station
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Winding through the mid-levels district. The overhead bridge in the photo is part of the Mid-Levels escalator.
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Elgin Street - one of the many steep side streets in Mid-Levels seen during the journey. If the name sounds vaguely familiar, that is because of Elgin Bridge in Singapore which was named after the then-Governor of India, Lord Elgin.
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After alighting at Pokfield Rd Terminus, we took a Citybus Service 3B Volvo B6LE to head back towards Wan Chai.
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Wan Chai 灣仔

Golden Bauhinia Square 金紫荊廣場
The Bauhinia is the city flower of Hong Kong, and is also the flower which appears on the HKSAR flag. This square was built to commemorate the return of Hong Kong to China in 1997, and a flag raising ceremony is held every morning at 8am. This square was totally swamped with PRC tourists, as well as numerous touts who offer photography services.

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Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre (HKCEC)

This iconic structure was designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP, and the second phase of the project was completed in 1997. The second phase, which is also located on reclaimed land, features a rooftop which resembles that of a bird (or a turtle, depending how one looks at it).

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Evening view of the Central district from the promenade in front of the HKCEC.
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Citybus also offers open top tours around Hong Kong Island from the bus terminal located besides the Convention Centre. Also known as 'Citytours', it costs HKD88 and includes places of interests such as Sogo Causeway Bay and Victoria Harbour.
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Wan Chai Star Ferry Pier
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Star Ferry operates services from Wan Chai to Tsim Sha Tsui and Hung Hom.
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The fare is payable either via Octopus or by buying a token from one of the vending machines. It costs HKD2.30 for the 10minute long harbour crossing.
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Avenue of Stars & Symphony of Lights

The Symphony of Lights show is held at 8pm every day, and features the synchronised display of building lights on 44 buildings located on both sides of Victoria Harbour. The show is also recognised by the Guiness Book of Records as the World's largest permanent light and sound show. The commentary is in English on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Chinese on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday, and in Cantonese on Sunday.
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The greatest draw of the show are the laser displays mounted from the top of several buildings in the Wan Chai district.
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Close up on the buildings in the Central district. Many buildings have additional lights for the festive season.
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This clock tower, located at the Tsim Sha Tsui Star Ferry Pier, used to be the site of the former Hong Kong Railway Station before it was shifted to its current location at Hung Hom.
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As it was already past 9pm by the time we were done, we decided to head up to Mongkok to look for dinner.
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We settled for KFC where we ordered their bucket meal. At HKD148, it was quite worth it! It came with 5 glasses of coke, 2 bowls of rice, Flava Roast chicken, Original & Spicy Chicken, Popcorn chicken, Colonel Chicken Strips, waffle fries and buttered corn cob.
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Due to the large number of services along Nathan Road, the bus stops are staggered in both directions. However, we didn't realise that the staggering was especially far apart between Mong Kok and Price Edward, and ended up walking all the way to Mong Kok Police Station (which is located beyond Price Edward MTR)to catch a bus back to our guesthouse. We avoided taking the cross harbour services due to the extra premium. As a reward for our efforts, we managed to board a hotdog on service 6A, which would also be our first hotdog ride during the trip.
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Saigon St bus stop along Nathan Rd. Even though it was near midnight, the streets were still bustling with people!
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