The Early Years

The railway was not without its problems. Typhoons and torrential rains were liable to erode the foundations and dislocate newly laid rails, while across the border armies of opposing warlords were in the habit of commandeering trains and blowing up the tracks.

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Powered through the rice fields of Shatin by a steam locomotive, the inaugural journey of the Kowloon Canton Railway took place in 1912.

Dr Sun Yat-sen, 'Father of the Nation', returned frequently to the colony that had helped shape his republican dreams. He is seen here seated in May 1912 with the British Colonial Secretary Claude Severn. Standing behind are two future governors, Cecil Clementi, in white suit, and Henry May, in uniform. On the left is Dr Ho Kai-ho, a mentor and benefactor of Dr Sun.

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Standing in the heart of Central was the grandiose canopied statue of Queen Victoria, commissioned to commemorate her Golden Jubilee in 1887. The Queen's statue was the first to be erected in what was initially known as Royal Square. Beyond (left) is the second Hong Kong Club Building of 1897 and (right), the matched housing foundation works for the Supreme Court. The City Hall (far right) was inaugurated in 1869.

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