Crowds thronged the inside of the KTM Tanjong Pagar Keratapi Tanah Melayu railway station, which will be closing for good on 30 June 2011. -ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
MR SHAMSUL Bahari became somewhat of a celebrity on Thursday evening, as hundreds of visitors swamped the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station on its last day of operations.
The station manager, 43, who's worked at the station since 1996, was signing autographs for the people who came up to him bearing souvenirs -- from coffee mugs to PVC folders with images of the station imprinted on them. 'Must be more than 1,000 people already since this morning,' Mr Bahari said, smiling. 'No, my hands not tired yet!'
Around the station, shutterbugs scattered themselves, adding to the sense of occasion, bulbs flashing at every corner of the 79-year-old KTM Railway Station. Music blared through stereos brought by visitors; necks craned behind iron grilles that separated the ticketing booth from the train platforms. On Friday, the land on which the station sits will revert to Singapore.
Retired station manager Sukhairi Ahmad Junid, who arrived on the last incoming train at 6pm together with 40 other retired KTM staff, said he was sad to see the station stop operations. 'We worked here, we ate here, we were happy here,' said the 59-year-old.
Visitors included also Mr Phill Seah, a tourism consultant in his 50s, who, like many others, said he came by out of curiosity. 'I just want to see what the fuss is about,' he said.
University student Denise Chua, 20, who came with a group of 15 friends, described the final send-off was an event 'not to be missed'. She said: 'We want to be part of this history-making moment.'
The last passenger train will leave the station at 10pm. The Sultan of Johor is expected to drive the final train into Malaysia at 11pm.
Other related stories:
Railway station closes chapter (channelnewsasia)
End of the line for historic Singapore station (AFP)
Iconic Tanjong Pagar Railway Station Important History To Newly-weds (Bernama)
Visitors flock to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station before it closes
Public warned to keep away from KTM railway tracks
* * *Atan pulls the final brake (The Star)
End of the line for KTM station hawkers (Straits Times)
Pictures: Final call for foodies at Tg Pagar rail station (Straits Times)
KTMB To End Train Service To Tanjong Pagar (Bernama)