Now that Hong Kong’s old airport is gone, it’s no longer possible to see the city “up close and personal.” Word is you could see people showering or identify the food people were eating at a restaurant below from your 747 window seat. Fortunately, the city can still be appreciated with a ride on 125 year old “The Peak” tram.
A Furnicular Tram: AKA “Inclined Plane” or “Cliff Railway” Turns 125 in 2013
IndustryTap has written about Hong Kong’s old airport, the expensive clean up that ensued, the new Chek Lap Kok Island airport that replaced it, and the $17 billion Kai Tak Development built on the old airport footprint. The development includes residential and business space, a new passenger terminal and a multipurpose stadium. But if you want to actually see Hong Kong, there is only one place to go, Victoria Peak, aka “The Peak”, runs from the Central District to Victoria Peak via the Mid-Levels. It offers intense views of the harbor and Hong Kong’s skyscrapers, arguably the world’s most beautiful skyline.
Another Famous Chinese “Long March”
The Peak is the highest mountain on Hong Kong Island and over the centuries was used as a signaling post for ships entering the harbor. The peak is 1,811 ft (552 m) above sea level and because of the relatively high winds it was a favorite destination for Hong Kong’s wealthy residents who were carried aloft in “sedan chairs.”
Modern History of the “Peak Tram”
The Peak got its first train in 1888, when Britain’s Sir John Pope-Hennessy, a former Scotland Highland Railway employee, convinced the governor of Hong Kong to fund it.
Hong Kong’s “Peak Tram” Today
The Peak Tram travels up various inclines from 0° to 27°, and is 4,475 feet long (1,364m) long. There are two, two-car train sets having a capacity of 120 passengers. It is a single track system with passing loops and journey time is 5 minutes. The train reaches speeds up to 13 miles per hour (20 km/h). The trains run on electricity and were built by Gangloff AG of Switzerland.
Today, “The Peak” transports 7 million visitors a year and at the top of the Peak is the “360 Degree Sky Terrace,” where visitors enjoy great Chinese food.
A Beautiful View of Hong Kong’s skyscrapers: