Tags: Architecture, Cats, Food, History, Malaysia, Uniquely Singapore
Itchyfingers had intended to take a day trip to Kluang as our last ride from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station before it ceased operation but we couldn’t get tickets online cos of some technical issue on the site. Tisu Boy had to go down to the station personally but was told that tickets to Kluang could only be purchased on the day. But there would the risk of not getting any tickets on the day we preferred, so he decided to purchase tickets to the next station, Segamat, upon recommendation by the ticket officer. Er, that was the first time I heard of this place.. :p
Wow…not very cheap hor? $21 for one way..Our train rides in Bangkok cost
only a few cents! But it was an air-conditioned coach and the ride would be
about three hours..and we were travelling overseas, although Malaysia is
just next door…hahah
We reached the station earlier to have some brekky. But not all stalls were opened…Seemed like not fated to eat the Nasi Briyani liao…Ended up buying from the same stall I bought my Mee Goreng on the other night…
People were already checking in at the opposite platform for the next train
while others were busy taking photos on this side. They put up the ugly red
plastic tape to warn people not to jump down the track to take photos,
which many did on the previous night we came
As mentioned on the previous post, taking a train from Tanjong Pagar
Railway Station was unique as we had to clear Malaysia custom first before
clearing the Singapore side. Sadly, this would be history now that both
customs are housed under the same roof at Woodlands
Tisu Girl fooling around at the Malaysian custom. This would not be
possible and tolerated had it not being the last days of the station, as I don’t
think photography was allowed at any customs…hahaha…
It was the first time we travel by day on train, so we were rather excited to
see the view, especially when the train passed by my old house at
Commonwealth and my friend’s present place at Buona Vista…not sure
where was this though…hahah
The train came to a halt when we reached the Bukit Timah Station. There were many people taking photos of the track and station and of course, the train.
Not sure what do you call this thing in front of this section of the train
that was not in operation…Should have jumped down and check it out
and take some photos of the station but we weren’t sure how long our train
was gonna stop there…
The journey continued twenty minutes later. To kill time, we chit chatted and had a second round of sushi brekky with apples as dessert…
The ladies decided to check out the food coach for some kopi. We ended up staying there till arrival as it was much cooler and we could play some games there…hahah…
Kluang station. Our original plan was to visit Kluang, a more popular day
trip destination. Of course we could still choose to alight here instead of
going further up to Segamat, but that would mean we were paying a higher
ticket price to Kluang. So we decided to stick to Segamat
Before going to Segamat, we did some research online and found that the place is famous for its durians. Though Itchyfingers are not great fans of the thorny fruit, we didn’t mind trying it. However, walking on the street, we didn’t see or smell any durians. Some sites suggested going to the salons at Segamat, but we weren’t very keen on that. There were really quite a number of hair salons on the streets we explored…
The weather was very hot and we managed to find some coffees shops and decided to settle at one for lunch. We certainly needed some ice cold drinks! 😀 When the lady asked us if we would like some homemade 红豆水 (red bean water), we were puzzled what was that. But we ordered some anyway…
The rest of the gang ordered wantan noodle. The extra meat were added by
Tisu Boy soley for photography purpose…just like what photos on food stalls
would always show their servings as much bigger portion…hahah
After lunch, we explored around to digest our food before having some desserts…hahah….
Nearby was this rusty old car that looked like it was gonna fall apart any
time…Being Itchyfingers, I tried opening the door and…it opened! Er, I think
no one would want to steal this antique, so there was no need to lock it… :p
The rest of the afternoon was spent at a pet shop selling exotic animals like Tarantulas and Leopard Geckos; lazing around in MacDonalds eating ice-creams, some junk food and reading papers as well as shopping in the one and only more happening shop selling cutey stuff (hahah) before heading back to the station to catch the train back…
Our train was supposed to arrive at 5.30 pm so we reckoned we could have a late dinner back at Singapore since we had been eating non-stop here. Then there was some announcement in Malay. Luckily my friend understood some simple Malay and said it sounded something like train delay. A check at the counter confirmed that it was due to some technical problem at Butterworth and the staff gave the assurance that our train would arrive at 7 pm. Well, guess we would have to spend more time at Segamat…maybe we should try to look for the durians again?
Still no smell of durians…But we managed to find the famous Nan Yang
Four of us ordered the Iced Three-layer Tea 三色奶茶 after seeing the poster
on the wall…I asked what was the bottom layer and the guy said it was
gula melaka (palm sugar) and tasted like chendol…Wow…sounded good…
We were careful not to stir too hard and mix up all the three layers of tea,
milk and gula melaka in case it would be too sweet. So bit by bit, we stirred
to our own preference for sweetness…I ended up with the least amount of
gula melaka in my glass…Not bad!
Then it was time to catch the train again…
Then the announcement came again…This time, it said our train would be delayed by another one hour again! :O Alamak!
It was close to 8pm and still no sign of any train…Even the locals were losing patience and decided to come back tomorrow. Of course we had no choice but to wait…but how long more? This time they announced that it would be 9 pm…Gosh…We had expected train delays as my friend’s parents just came back not too long ago from their day trip and theirs was delayed for 1.5 hour. But we din expect to have to wait for more than that…and we weren’t even sure now if it would really arrive at 9 pm after the numerous changes…
We were all so glad that the train finally arrived at 9 pm…By now we were so tired and had no mood to take any photos liao…Good thing we still had some sandwiches left…
When we finally reached safely at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, it was
already past 1 am! We were all feeling tired…and my friend’s hubby said
that after this ride, the romanticism of train riding is all gone! Hahahah!
But there were still many people savouring their favourite food at the
platform! If we were to arrive at around 8pm as scheduled, we might also
have our late dinner here but now we just wanted to go home! :p
The Tanjong Pagar Railway Station finally ceased operation on the 30 June 2011 after serving people from all walks of life for 79 years. The building will then be conserved and hopefully it will be transformed into another place where people can have easy access and interaction with in the near future.
Also see related posts:
> Last Supper
> Memories – Tanjong Pagar Railway Station
> Exploring by Train (Part 1) – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #5a
> Exploring by Train (Part 2) – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #6a
> Exploring by Train (Part 3) – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #7a
> Back on the Right Track (Part 1) – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #8a
> Life along the Track (Part 2) – Bangkok, Thailand Trip #9a
Tags: Culture, Food, History, Nostalgia, Uniquely Singapore
Itchyfingers had long wanted to go sample the famous Nasi Briyani at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station but we kept postponing it. Then we planned to do so on the day we take a train ride to Malaysia. As the station was slated to cease operation at the end of June, all the food stalls would have to vacate by the 26 June. It was only then that I thought it might be a better idea to try to go and sample it before our train ride, as I think it might be more crowded nearer to their closing day.
But Itchyfingers were still too late. Obviously there were many people with the same idea. When we reached the station slightly before 7 pm, there were already so many visitors that the carpark was full.
I only ate there once during lunchtime when I was working somewhere nearby some years back so was not really familiar with the stalls, and certainly not sure which was the stall selling the famous Nasi Briyani. Forgotten what did I eat that time…Didn’t see the name appear on any stalls but from what we saw on tv, I reckoned it should be one of those near to the platform….
It was kinda chaotic cos there were so many customers. Being uninitiated,
Itchyfingers just followed the longest queue for this stall at the left although
it didn’t have Nasi Briyani written on the list of items they were selling…
No one seemed to be ordering Nasi Briyani too. Maybe I got the stall all
wrong. But it was a bit stuffy and hot inside here so we decided to just
order other thing to eat… Boo…
There was this crowd of hungry-looking customers waiting very eagerly like vultures in the middle of the canteen. Then I remembered watching on tv some customers commenting about the pisang goreng (banana fritters) being snapped up the moment they were served. Itchyfingers finally saw with my own eyes! The moment the tray of freshly fried banana snacks was taken out, those lucky vultures, er, customers, with metal tongs in hands waiting impatiently started to grab them into their plastic bags with speed of thunders! Others without the tongs simply use the bag as gloves to grab the fritters, nevermind they were so hot! There was no time to waste! Others who either didn’t have the tongs or the bags or were too far from the tray could only stare with jealousy, curse and swear secretly and pray there would be some left for them when it was their turn. So nice to eat meh? Itchyfingers was tempted to leave my queue and try my fingers on those fritters but decided that I would be no match for these “old birds”…hahah…Very tempted to go up to take photos of them in action but was a bit shy to do so…hahah…
Back in the canteen, we had missed the latest round of pisang goreng
snatching. More hungry vultures were hanging around the serving table
with plastic bags waiting…This lucky guy was sitting comfortably enjoying
his fruit of labour…The pisang goreng really looked like big fried chicken wings!
Not sure why tickets to certain areas could only be purchased 24 hours before
departure, cos it was really troublesome to keep coming back if you failed
to buy yours. For our train ride, Tisu Boy couldn’t purchase them online and
had to go twice to queue up
No lah, weather was too humid…Prefer a cold drink. They should preserve
this fridge with the station name…There was another one at the M. Hasan
Canteen near the platform. Makes a “cool” glass cupboard for books too! Haha
When we were leaving, there were still a steady stream of visitors to the station. Many people were there for a last meal at their favourite stalls, but almost all came with cameras. Although Itchyfingers were not great fans of Malay food and hence were unfamiliar with the stalls, it was still a bit sad to see long-time stall owners being asked to leave the station. The Tanjong Pagar Railway Station would be preserved as a national monument but surely it would be more lively to have these stalls selling Singaporeans’ favourite food than to have a dead building without activities? Afterall, food has always been a part of our culture.
Do join Itchyfingers as we took our last ride out from the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station! 😀
Also see related post:
> Memories – Tanjong Pagar Railway Sation
Tags: Architecture, Design, History, Nostalgia, Uniquely Singapore
For most people, going to the train station is for the obvious reason – travel from one point to another, well, unless you work there. The first time Itchyfingers visited the train station years ago was not to travel, but to look for birds. I just started birdwatching not too long and was part of a team of novice birdwatchers participating in the Bird Race, which required teams to go around Singapore trying to count the most numbers of bird species within a specific time frame. We heard from the seasoned birders that swifts were easily found at the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, so we went there to check it out.
If you look up the tall ceiling at the main hall, you will find many of these
nests. I think they were House Swifts…There used to be a big colony of
swifts nesting at the Supreme Court but they had since been cleared away
Itchyfingers had since then taken about three train rides to Malaysia for birdwatching trips. Each trip was kinda rush and we didn’t really take that many photos of the railway station. Last year, after news that Malaysia would be returning Singapore the land parcel used for the KTM trains came out, Itchyfingers went back to the station to take some photos.
Visitors would find it hard to miss the four huge marble relief on the facade wall by Italian sculptor, Rudolfo Nolli. Each represented the four pillars of the Malayan and Singapore economy – Agriculture, Commerce, Transport and Industry, with the initials FMSR (Federated Malay States Railways).
Besides the swifts and their nest, when you look up the main hall, you would also see six huge panels of paintings depicting rustic scenes from rural Malaya and Singapore. Can you believe they were made of rubber?
Scenes of yesterdays – coconut growing
Bullock cart transport
I think one of the reasons people regard train commuting as romantic must
be because of the Oriental Express…Of course lah, you gotta dress up in the
train where there were comfortable nice beds and you enjoy fine dining…
But the impressions all came from movies and posters…It just feels so unreal and
exclusive. Itchyfingers had thoughts of catching one before they cease operation
from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station but we were put off by the hefty price tag…
At one time, the upper floors of the station housed a 34-room hotel for
more than 60 years. When we were there, only this small little room with
double decker beds was operating…Would have easily missed it as it was
tucked at one corner
Evidence of the station being constructed between 1929 and 1932
The platform for departure where you clear the Malaysia custom. This was
one of the most unique features at the station here: because it was Malaysia
land, we had to check into Malaysia before checking out of Singapore at the
Woodland check point when it would have been the reverse if you were to
travel via car, coach or plane. And there was no chop on the passport for
some reason, so if you come back via other transport you would need to
produce your train ticket to prove that you didn’t cross over illegally…
Gotta miss that now…
It was in October last year when we photographed these pictures, and as the deadline for the cessation of operation of the KTM train at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station came closer, Itchyfingers, like many other Singaporeans, went for another visit…Do stay tuned for our next post! 🙂