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Tanjong Pagar Railway Station – Our Last Goodbye

20 July 2011 No Comment

tanjong pagar railway station

When it was completed in 1932, the Tanjong Pagar station marked the beginning of intercity rail service in the downtown area of then British colony, Singapore. On June 30th this year, that historic chapter drew to a close. With the land swap agreement between Singapore and Malaysia taking effect, train services are relocated to the Woodlands checkpoint near the Malaysian border, while the KTM station at Tanjong Pagar closed its doors to passengers permanently.

tanjong pagar railway station

Mural inside tanjong pagar railway station

Murals inside the station

Tanjong Pagar station’s main building is built in the art deco style, and decorated with symbols of the city’s progress. Four large ornamental statues adorn the main entrance, while six wall murals depicting important local industries are painted on the walls of the main hall. Despite its grandeur, age seemed to have taken its toll on the structure. Cracked walls and water seepage in the ceiling were visible all over, while the upper rooms looked disused.

tanjong pagar railway station

Crowd in front of the ticketing counter

The crew was determined to pay the grand old dame a last visit, and so we planned a train ride up to peninsular Malaysia before the end of June. As it was the school holidays, and also for the fact that many locals shared our idea, it was difficult to find available seats for the journey. Only a little luck and improvisation of itinerary made sure we secured the much needed tickets.

Canteen at the Tanjong Pagar Station

M. Hasan Railway Station Canteen, outside (above) and inside view (below)

M Hasan Railway Station Canteen

Arriving slightly earlier on the day of travel, the crew took the opportunity to immortalise the station in still print. We hope that these photographs serve as a reminder of the good old days. It was a hive of activity in the station; shop owners and workers were making preparations to move out while tourists and locals (us included) were busy taking pictures. For break, we stopped by ‘M. Hasan Railway Station Canteen’ for some nasi goreng (fried rice) and goreng pisang (banana fritters). Both dishes were surprisingly good, although we found the fritters to be a little too tough. What is more surprising is that the fritters are hugely popular; each batch is sold out in mere minutes.

Nasi Goreng at the Tanjong Pagar Station

Nasi Goreng

Goreng pisang at the Tanjong Pagar Station

A plate of goreng pisang

It was a little sad to leave the station for one last time, knowing that all these will be nothing more than sweet memories. The only piece of good news for the moment: it is rumored that the station building will be preserved as a heritage site. At this stage, however, the scope of the conservation plan is still unclear.

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