I’m back, with a BBC story about Hong Kong’s beloved ding-ding

An updated ding-ding trundles through Hong Kong Central. Note the LED signbaord. (Photo by me)

An updated ding-ding trundles through Hong Kong Central. Note the LED signbaord. (Photo by me)

JISHOU, HUNAN — I’m back in China, having spent a month flitting from one part of the Midwest to another — at least when weather conditions allowed my planes to get off the ground. More about those adventures later.

First, here’s a story of the BBC about Hong Kong’s trams, also known as the ding-ding.

Unlike most American cities, Hong Kong never gave up its streetcars. While they are slow and not especially comfortable, they are cheap and are still an integral part of the city’s public transport system.

When a transport engineer proposed to eliminate the ding-ding in favor of more modern systems, tens of thousands of Hong Kongers wrote to the government pleading for the Tram’s survival. Imagine that happening in the USA.

Well, maybe it did happen, but it was well before my time.

As they wear out, the trams are being replaced by hand-crafted, modernized versions built with aluminum (or aluminium, if you prefer) frames, which replaced the original wooden frames. The clunky old DC motors are replaced with lighter, more efficient AC motors. And LED sign boards announce each destination.

Most importantly, the fare is still the same, and the renovated cars look much like the old ones.

I love the ding-ding. It’s part of the city’s appeal. So, this BBC report caught my eye. You should read the whole thing: Rebuilding Hong Kong’s 20p Time machine.

And here’s another photo, just ’cause.

Riders in Hong Kong wait for the westbound tram as the eastbound passes by. (Photo by me)

Riders in Hong Kong wait for the westbound tram as the eastbound passes by. (Photo by me)

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