Memories – Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

July 11, 2011 at 11:55 pm | Posted in itchy mouth | Leave a comment
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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.


The KTM parking coupon


The Tanjong Pagar Railway Station was opened in 3 May 1932


Old lamp pole. The lamps actually looked like those helmets of old police 
officers…haha 

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).


Agriculture


Commerce


Transport


Industry


Entrance…


Signage at the left side of the entrance. There used to be rooms available
for rent at the station…


The main hall of the station…I can’t remember if this Tourism Malaysia
house was here when I first visited…It looked relatively new compared to
the rest…

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


Shipping


Bullock cart transport


Rubber tapping


Rice planting


Tin mining


It was off peak season, so only a handful of people were queuing up for
tickets 


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… 


Despite being Malaysian land, all transactions at the ticketing counter and
the food stalls were in Singapore dollar 


No one was waiting for their train to come…the Railway Food Station was
also quite empty… 


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 


This family book store and money changing service had been operating at
the station since 1936…


The food stalls near the platform


Platform for incoming train


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…


Gate closed at the departure platform…The next train was in the evening


Huh? Why cannot bring in batik sarung? Telephone also cannot?


Time seemed to have stood still at the station…just like this malfunctioned
clock… 


Wow! Such nice gestures for taxi drivers!

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! 🙂

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