On the 30th of June, we will see the last day of operation at the grand old station at Tanjong Pagar. The station, grand not in terms of scale, but in the magnificent style in which it was built, has served Singapore as the southern terminal station for close to eight decades, having been completed in 1932 to provide a city fast growing in economic importance with a station befitting of its status, and being part of a deviation of the railway which had prior to that, run through the Bukit Timah corridor before terminating at Tank Road. With the return of the railway land which has been held on a lease by the successors of the Malayan Railway, Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) and the shift of the southern terminal on the 1st of July, the age of rail travel across Singapore, which has lasted a little over a century, would draw to a close.
Operations at the grand building which has served as the southern terminal of the Malayan Railway since 1932 will cease on 1st July 2011.
In what form the station, which has recently received status as a National Monument, will be conserved following the handover we do not know, but whatever does happen, it would only serve as a reminder of the once working station which had for many years been an oasis of the laid back old world feeling that is missing from the modern Singapore that we have gotten used to. Gone will be the whistles and the drone of the diesel engines, the coming and going of passengers, the popular food outlets and what has become an institution at the railway station, the Habib Book Store and Money Changer. Gone will also be the opportunity to soak up the feel of the mood around the station, and lazily sip away at a cup of tea seated at the station end of the arrival platform.
A vanishing scene at Tanjong Pagar: Habib Book Store and Money Changer.
Another vanishing scene at Tanjong Pagar: The coming and going of passengers.
No more opportunity to lazily sip a cup of tea on the arrival platform come the 1st of July.
All good things must come to an end, as the saying goes, and come to an end will be an era and to mark this end, a last train would be be leaving Tanjong Pagar on the 30th of June. This train would be special as it would be driven by none other than HRH Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor. More information on how to get on this train I understand would be available from KTM’s headquarters and tickets I understand would cost somehwere in the order of $300. For me, I would choose to instead to be on the last train in … and be the last passenger to alight … that just to bring not just an era but also a chapter in Malaysia’s and Singapore’s history to a close … as a memory of a railway that I will certainly miss in the years to come …
The last train out will be one that would have a special driver ...
The Sultan of Johor will drive the last train out of Tanjong Pagar on 30th June 2011 (photo source: http://www.thestar.com.my).
I would rather be that last passenger to alight at Tanjong Pagar.
To read my series of posts on Journeys through Tanjong Pagar, please click on this link.
If anyone is keen to join Clarissa Tan, Notabilia, and myself on the last train into Singapore (not the last train which will be the northbound train from Tanjong Pagar), do indicate your interest by leaving a comment at Notabilia’s post on the subject.
In the Lianhe Zaobao on Sunday 29 May 2011
约两周前，网上已有人开 始召集在6月30日到马来西亚一同搭回返丹戎巴葛火车站的最后一班火车，为火车站来个 “欢送会”。据召集人之一林坚源了解，当天晚上10时抵新的班车应孩会是火车战停用前最最后一班在这里停 的火车靠的火车。
Update 14 June 2011 (New Straits Times)
Tickets snapped up for KTMB’s final Tanjong Pagar service
By Atiqa Hazellah
KUALA LUMPUR: More than 170 people will be on the last train out of Tanjong Pagar station in Singapore on June 30, but chances are, they will not be rushing to get aboard before the green flag signifying the start of the journey is waved.
Almost all of the 172 tickets for the final journey were snapped up after they went on sale at noon yesterday, pointing to the possibility that many wanted to be a part of the historic occasion.
Just five hours after the ticket counters opened for business, the second class sleeping coach tickets were sold out, while the first and second class coaches had only two and 56 tickets left, respectively.
The Ekspres Senandung Sutera locomotive will depart at 10pm from the Tanjong Pagar station, breaking the silence of the darkness of the night for one last time. The express train service ends at the Kuala Lumpur Sentral station.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd corporate communications executive Kelvin Khew said a sending-off celebration would be organised to commemorate the historic occasion. “The celebration will start at 11pm with many activities lined up, (including) selling the train’s memorabilia.” Besides that, said Khew, an exhibition would be held at the Tanjong Pagar station from June 26 to 29, in collaboration with Tourism Malaysia.
The Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar, will drive a special train from Tanjong Pagar and stop at the Woodlands Immigration checkpoint, then continue to Johor Baru Sentral after getting a licence last year.
Meanwhile, a page has been set up by several people on social networking site Facebook.
Called “The Last Train Into Tanjong Pagar”, it has already accumulated 357 fans since it was created earlier this month.
Most of them expressed their sadness over the closure of the Tanjong Pagar station.
On July 1, the curtains will come down on the Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah stations in Singapore as KTMB terminates its rail services in the republic south of the Woodlands train checkpoint.
The Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah stations have been providing rail services for Malaysians and Singaporeans since 1932 and 1915, respectively. The Tanjong Pagar site and other KTMB land parcels in the island republic will be jointly developed by MS Pte Ltd, a company with a 60 per cent stake held by Khazanah Nasional Bhd and 40 per cent by Temasek Holdings Ltd.
This was agreed upon during a series of bilateral meetings which also involved Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Singapore counterpart, Lee Hsien Loong, last year.
Read more: Tickets snapped up for KTMB’s final Tanjong Pagar service