SDS 3.2 – C’mon N’ Ride It

The other time we went on the tracks, this time we went to one of their stations! Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is going to close on 1st July and then it’ll be up for some renovations or something like that. We’re not sure but it’s to be at least kept the way it is as a historical place. Well, the crew didn’t get to go on the guided tours by the heritage board but we did research on our own and took pictures on our own time!

I wonder if they’re going to renovate the station, will they keep the clock as it is? Frozen in time? It was said to be that it stopped because it was struck by lightning but I’m not sure how accurate that fact is. Kind of like Back to the Future eh?

To get to the station, you either take the bus, walk or get there with your own vehicle. In 3 March 1932, it was officially opened by Sir Cecil Clementi. Ok, in the following pictures, you might see FMSR, that stands for Federated Malay States Railways. It is said that it is influenced by the architect of Finland’s Helsinki Station. Hence the art deco style and all. Let’s get closer.

Now, they’re the statues of agriculture, commerce, transport and industry.The boxes below them are light fixtures that were originally inside of the station. I find it amusing that agriculture has a plant growing out of it now. I wonder if that’s by chance or was that designed to be that way. Interestingly if you read wikipedia or infopedia about the station and about the statues, it says that it’s by Rudolfo Nolli, the architect who also did the Old Supreme Court. However, this is NOT ACCURATE.

Hold on there, WHAT IS THIS? On all of the statues, these hard to see signatures are carved upon them. I’ve enhanced the photos so we can see the names. Angelo Vannetti is the sculptor and art by R. Bigazzi of Florence? Interesting, non? At the moment, I don’t have much info on them but well, this is something to find out more in the future. I’m not sure where Rudolfo Nolli came about since the statues seemed to be a different style when you compare other works.

Ok, let’s head into the station. It’s still being used by people who want to go to Malaysia or even up to Bangkok. The last train from the station will be manned by the Sultan of Johor on 30 June and it’ll cost at least $300 for a ride. Expensive much cause it’s the last train.

Lots of signs and the schedule is hung on the left wall as you enter the station. The VIP rooms don’t seem used any more. It was station hotel of 34 rooms and once, there was a suicide in one of them! Scandalous! The door probably leads to the second floor where the rooms are but we didn’t have access to that. It’s also the one hotel besides one in Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur for the line.  Sad.

There’s a kampung house in the middle of the station by Malaysian Tourism Board. It’s a “model of a homestay in Malaysia”. You can’t go in it but there’s an LCD screen playing a video of Malaysia!

When you’re there, the most crowded area would be the ticketing counter and the seats where passengers would wait for the arrival of the train. The police station seems closed, I wonder if it’s cause the officers are at the restricted part of the station where you need tickets to enter. Oh besides that, on the right side of the station is a restaurant and some old arcade games or gashapon machines. It says Railway Restaurant but it’s not really a restaurant that you’d think, it’s more of a classic style food court.

Meanwhile, if you look UP, you’ll see these mosaic pieces of art on the walls besides the FMSR coat of arms that’s similar to the ones outside of the station. So, if art was by R. Bigazzi, would it be a logical conclusion that the scenes of Malaysian life is done by him?

Ok, off towards the other side of the station you’ll find a money changer and bookstore. The Habib Railway Bookstore that has been there since 1936. At the moment it is like your typical mamak shop with magazines, snacks and other items.

Before we continue looking and taking pictures of the railway, the crew and I took a short tea break at the other restaurant. You can see the metal gates of where the bookstore is in this picture as we’re facing it.

The kueh stall is self service, just grab what you want and pay at the drinks stall! We had some pisang goreng and some fried fritter thing that I always don’t know the name of and say “I want that one” instead and glasses of teh tarik. It was delish. The staff at the drinks stall seem to be Indonesian! TEA BREAK OVER. Let’s get back to the main railway which was just next to the food shops and tables.

See the train there? Back then nearly all FMSR steam locomotives were manufactured by various builders from the United Kingdom, the had all-black liveries except for the Johor Railway which used Catalonian blue.

Ok, Singapore has KTM’s (that’s Keretapi Tanah Melayu aka Malaysian Railways) only hydralic buffer stops by Ransomes & Rapier. That company is closed now so hmmm. It’s that red thing in the back you see. The pushcart there is now like a landmark of sorts for the station.

Soon it was time for the people to get on their train too. Lots of passengers in tour groups from what I noticed.

Then we were off. Not in the train, we got out of the station. Oh if you’re looking up, you’ll see this on the arcs of the roof outside. The 8 points is for luck. Heh, we’ve got Helsinki influence and of course Asian influence too for this station. They have green tiles for the roof anyway which is more of an oriental style.

So good bye railway station! Still, what will happen to the staff there, the food stall owners and the resident cats? Hopefully it won’t change much and will reopen as a historical landmark as what was planned by both the Malaysian and Singapore government! Well, you have until 1 July to check the place out before it “temporarily closes”.

Ps. Considering the nature of this post, I have lots of links for you to check out since I researched and took it from various sources here.

Sources: <— The cats of the station! <— Especially on the food!

Pps. If you have any other fun facts about the station, don’t forget to comment!

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Well, this is seriously Sarah and that's all you need to know for now.

5 thoughts on “SDS 3.2 – C’mon N’ Ride It”

  1. Hi Sarah, thanks for linking to my blog. Good spot on the sculptures – looking further in depth, it appears that the sculptor was indeed a Prof. Angelo Vannetti of the Italian Academy of Fine Arts who carried out the work under the Raoul Bigazzi Studios of Florence. Raoul Bigazzi himself was an established artist, sculptor, decorator, and art dealer who made frequent visits to the Far East.

  2. Hi Sarah!

    Great post on the railway station! my family and i managed to get tickets for the pmb tour and it was an insightful tour that had certainly gave us more info abt the station, eg the station hotel! Havent got the chance to ride the train yet but ive already booked my tickets for the last train from Malaysia into sg! Alot cheaper compared to the last train leaving from the station! Looking forward to more sds posts!(;

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