Monday, January 9, 2017

Visiting The Historical Tanjong Pagar Railway Station


On 1st July 2011, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station or TPRS, ceased operations closing the chapter on one of Singapore’s most historical landmarks. Since its closure, many have reminiscing the memories of the railway station. Thanks to the public open houses held during public holidays, here are some photos of the now disused station.

What is the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station?


The Tanjong Pagar Railway Station opened in 1932 allowing Singaporeans and Malaysians to travel from Singapore to the states of Malaysia. This station, together with the Bukit Timah Railway Station and the railway tracks belonged to Malaysia although it was on Singapore land.

Years after its closure, Malaysia took back its remaining railway tracks and handed the two railway stations and railway tracks to the Singapore government. In exchange, Malaysia and Singapore collaborated to develop the Marina One mixed use development at Marina Bay.

Travelling to Malaysia From Woodlands Train Checkpoint


Boarding the train from TPRS allows travellers to travel past the forested areas of northern Singapore like Bukit Timah, Clementi and Choa Chu Kang before crossing the Woodlands Causeway and eventually to other parts of Malaysia. People who still intend to board the train can still do so at Woodlands Train Checkpoint located near the Causeway.

Features of The Tanjong Pagar Railway Station


The station’s architecture is called ‘art deco’ based on designs found in British buildings most likely because Singapore was still under the British during construction. The station also once used to house a hotel for travellers and as a starting point to transport goods from here to the Jurong Industrial area called the Jurong Line.


The Jurong Line eventually ceased operations in the 1990s after the opening of Penjuru Road, a bridge that connects to the nearby Jurong East estate. The road allows vehicles to enter the industrial estate making the Jurong Line unnecessary to continue operations.

Food Shops at The Tanjong Pagar Railway Station


When the station was still in operation, the food stalls were famous offering a variety of Malay and Indian dishes like Roti Prata, Mee Rebus and so on. The stalls were mostly frequented by travellers who wanted to have some food before boarding the train. Though the stalls have been closed since, the signages were still up denoting their past existence.

Train Boarding Area


This is where passengers embark and disembark from the trains. The classic metallic KTM trains with its classic KTM livery will pull up to the station and leave when it’s scheduled to do so. Thankfully, even after its closure, the train tracks here and and at Bukit Timah Railway Stations have been conserved. The train tracks make great photography shots.

TPRS Public Holiday Open Houses


Years afters it official closure, the Singapore Land Authority or SLA, the now-owner of the railway station announced the station will be be open to the public on public holidays. Visitors made use of this opportunity to take lots of photos of this historical site especially the classic interior of the building and the train tracks.


There were also plenty of fun family-oriented activities held during the open houses like a Thai-themed flea market, roving exhibitions about the station’s history, an instant photo booth and a Christmas party on Christmas days.

The Ceasing of TPRS Open Houses


In late 2015, the SLA announced that the railway station’s open houses will officially cease in end-2016 to make way for the new Cantonment MRT Station on the Circle Line. This makes the last day of the open house on Christmas Day 2016.


However, the railway station won’t be completely demolished as it has been gazetted as a National Monument. Instead, using smart engineering and building methods, the new MRT station will be integrated with the classic railway station. The station will eventually be completed in 2025.

Conclusion

The closure of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in 2011 was definitely disappointing for frequent travellers and history buffs. Gone are the days where you can board the train in a historical landmark and travel through Singapore’s forested areas. However, do look forward to the new Cantonment MRT Station giving residents in Cantonment a better way to get around Singapore.

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