6,000 people visit ex-railway station

6,000 people visit ex-railway station

More than 6,000 people visited Tanjong Pagar Railway Station yesterday when it opened its doors to the public for Good Friday.

The Singapore Land Authority (SLA) announced in February that the building would be open to the public on all public holidays, starting from the second day of the Chinese New Year. The number of visitors yesterday was about four times the Chinese New Year turnout.

The 26km strip of former railway land, which was returned to Singapore by Malaysia in 2011, slices through the island from Woodlands in the north to Tanjong Pagar in the south. It was previously used by Malaysia's Keretapi Tanah Melayu or KTM railway.

Built between 1929 and 1931, the station closed in 2011 and was gazetted as a national monument in 2013.

Many visitors took photos at the tracks yesterday, while others sat chatting with their family members and friends.

Civil servant Zul Yusof, 45, who was with his wife Suriya Muhamad, 38, and their four-year-old son Adryan, said: "I was working in the United Arab Emirates for some time before we came back in 2012. We didn't have the chance to come here before it closed."

Ms Suriya said the visit satisfied their son's curiosity."Once, we drove past the station and our son asked how come there were no trains here even though it looked like a train station. That's why we decided to take him here."

Mrs Jackie Timlen, a Singaporean doctor who is in her 50s, was there with her husband, Mr Thomas Timlen, 52. Both had wanted to catch the last train ride before the station closed but did not manage to do so.

Mrs Timlen said: "It's unspoilt and completely natural. It's like a green oasis in the city."

The railway station also drew overseas tourists like 36-year-old fashion business owner Sunil Shari from Hong Kong.

He said: "This is, by far, one of the most unique and well-preserved train stations I have seen."

kcarolyn@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on April 4, 2015.
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