Reminiscing @ Former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

It is Hari Raya Puasa today. Meaning it is a public holiday in Singapore!! There were only bad shows on television and Walking Dead have still not resumed yet 😦

So after much tribulations on deciding between doing something useful or slacking at home, I decided to spend the day usefully by visiting the former railway station located at Tanjong Pagar.

A bit of history about the railway station first. It was started in 1932 and was in operation till 2011 serving as the railway station connecting Singapore and Malaysia. After many years of discussions on who the station and the surroundings belongs to, it was finally agreed that it goes to Singapore. Soon after that there were other plans in place for a high speed train service between the countries. Thus this station will be decommissioned and redevelopments will be done to the surroundings.

It has some 79 years of history within the walls. And for a young nation like Singapore who is celebrating her 50 years of birthday this year, this site holds much memories and heritage. So much that it has been designated as one of the National Monuments of Singapore.

(P.S. Thanks Wiki for the info: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanjong_Pagar_railway_station)

To cut the long story short, I wanted to experience the heritage before redevelopments take place in the area. Since the station was decommissioned, it is only opened to the public during special occasions like public holidays. Since today is a public holiday I made the decision to visit the station!!

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The railway station is located along Keppel road and is easily accessible by public buses from the Harbourfront MRT station. You can already see a slice of the dying history at the entrance. Yes, I am talking about motorised push carts selling cheap cold drinks and ice cream. It reminded me of my childhood where such vehicles are a common sight at neighbourhoods. In recent times, this is as rare as the COE prices dropping. Well after grabbing myself a ice cold drink in an exceptionally hot day, I headed into the station.

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The entrance is grand and reminds you of the designs usually associated with European arts. Apparently this is called Art Deco and was designed by an Italian sculptor called, Rudolfo Nolli.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tanjong_Pagar_railway_station

The immediate interior halls were also grand with high ceiling, lots of natural lights and decorated with wall paintings.

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After the interior hall, you will reach the gates leading to the station platform.

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You will also come across empty stalls that has been vacated since the closure of the station in 2011.

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As it is a public holiday, there was a good crowd of families and kids exploring the station. There was even a wedding shoot going on!! The wedding couple are smart as the pictures will be unique and retro in style.

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You can feel the vast space of the station as shown in the pictures below.

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The railways track are retained only for a few meters. The remaining tracks has been removed and now replaced by vast patches of grass.

You can complete exploring the station within an hour but the experiences gained may last you for a lifetime. I may be over exaggerating but in the highly globalised Singapore society where land is scare and everything needs to be optimised, not may places can retain the history and heritage amid high rise buildings and swanky casinos.

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For example, the above picture may only show an empty train platform but to me it may contain many stories of unfinished kisses, goodbyes, tearful separations, happy reunions or even today for the couple doing their wedding shoot a lifetime of memories. Hopefully such history will continue to survive and retained.

With this thought in mind I ended my successful and meaningful Hari Raya Puasa endeavour.

Till my next scribble,

David Webb
Twitter: @david_n_webb
Instagram: david_n_webb