18 May 2004
KCRC donates Hong Kong’s first diesel electric locomotive to Hong Kong Railway Museum
The Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) is pleased to donate Hong Kong’s first diesel electric locomotive – the Sir Alexander – to the Hong Kong Railway Museum today.
The Australian-made Sir Alexander entered service in September 1955. It was KCRC’s first diesel electric locomotive as well as the first of its kind in Hong Kong. The Sir Alexander was named after former governor, Sir Alexander Grantham and was the first train to be named after a person in Hong Kong.
Sir Alexander’s launch marked KCRC’s transition from the age of steam-driven locomotives to the age of diesel. During its first years of service, the Sir Alexander was mainly used to haul passenger trains until the railway system was fully electrified in 1983. Diesel electric locomotives like the Sir Alexander were gradually retired from passenger service following electrification, but they continued to haul freight and engineering trains.
Speaking at today’s Donation of Diesel Electric Locomotive Ceremony, jointly organised with the Leisure and Cultural Services Department, Mr Samuel Lai, KCRC’s Acting Chief Executive Officer said, "KCRC is committed to protecting and improving the environment by introducing quieter and more energy-efficient new trains, building noise barriers along the railway alignment and implementing environmental management systems."
Five environmentally-friendly diesel locomotives of the latest generation were delivered to Hong Kong at the end of last year. After stringent testing, they have been gradually put into service to replace the five oldest diesel locomotives, including the most senior, the Sir Alexander.
Mr Lai added, "In the past few months, KCRC staff had devoted over a thousand hours to refurbishing the Sir Alexander. All rust was removed from its exterior, it was repainted its original dark green colour and the logo on the train body was restored in order to return the locomotive to its original 1955 appearance."
The Sir Alexander’s nearly half-a-century of service marked an important milestone in Hong Kong’s rail history – nothing less than the transition from the age of steam-driven locomotives to the age of diesel. This lifetime of service to Hong Kong will enter a new phase tomorrow, when the Sir Alexander goes on display at the Hong Kong Railway Museum. All of us at KCRC wish the Sir Alexander the best of luck in its new career as a permanent exhibit and star attraction at the Railway Museum.