Grannie Green Revivial

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Chp 21, Tsim Sha Tsui Rail Terminus – Forty years champion for the environment

Tsim Sha Tsui Rail Terminus

The terminus of the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC) at the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront was once the famed destination of the longest train ride of the British empire – a train ticket could be purchased at London Victoria Station for Hong Kong, to pass through the European Continent, the Trans-Siberia, through China and into the then British Colony of Hong Kong.

Then the Hong Kong government decided to move the KCRC Terminus to Hung Hom and to redevelop the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront. After the Tsim Sha Tsui Station ceased operation on 20 November 1975, CA began a campaign together with the Hong Kong Heritage Society, an association formed in March 1977 by David Russell of Hong Kong University, to have the Terminus building and the clock tower preserved.

In early 1977, a review was conducted by Transmark, a subsidiary of British Rail, on the connection between the KCR and the planned mass transit railway. One of the options being considered then was to link use the old Terminus to link the MTR with the KCR – a possibility that could see the old structure preserved. From August 1977, CA and the oHHeritage Society stepped up the preservation campaign. The December 1977 issue of CA’s SOS Environment reported that “public support in preserving the old KCR terminus and clock tower is gaining momentum. It may also be revitalized if a KCR extension line be built from Hunghom to Tsimshatsui.”

But that was not to be. Despite the support they gathered, CA and Heritage Society failed to convince A de O Sales, Chairman of the Urban Council, who was determined to develop a new cultural complex at the site of the old Terminus. On 5 June 1978 – the day Hong Kong joined the World Environment Day for the first time – the Secretary for Environment Derek Jones announced that the Queen had turned down the petition to preserve the old station, although the clock tower would be preserved and integrated into the design of the cultural facilities.

Thus was built on the Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront the commercial cluster comprising the New World Centre and two waterfront hotels and the cultural complex of the Museum of History, Space Museum and the infamous windowless structure known as Cultural Centre.

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April 27, 2015 - Posted by | Dr WK Chan book

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