Thursday, June 16, 2011

Bukit Timah Railway station (Part II and finale of Kluang - S'pore journey)

Before reaching Tanjong Pagar Railway, we made an expected stop at Bukit Timah Railway station. That gave me a great opportunity to observe the passing of the locks - a process to ensure no head on collisions of trains.

Bukit Timah Railway Station

Post where the lock will be placed
Arriving at the station, we waited for the north-bound train to pass first before continuing the journey to Tanjong Pagar. This gave me plenty of time to explore the Bukit Timah Railway station and most importantly observe the process of passing the locks. 
This is how the lock looks like

Bukit Timah Signals and gears
The officer with the lock has an important task to ensure all this is done smoothly and without incident. Well i was very happy to be a witness of this event soon to disappear from Singapore.  Arrived back at Singapore at 7:48 pm, enriched by my journey and experience of a history in the process which soon will disappear into passing memory come 1st July 2011.
The man of the moment, ensuring all is smooth
seen here with the lock and flags

Train assistant placing the lock on the post

Back at Tanjong Pagar Railway station at 7:48pm

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Kluang back to Singapore (Part I)

The journey back from Kluang to Singapore was an eventful one. For timing purposes, i decided to take a budget train back (essentially it stops at every station and takes an hour longer than express). The cost of the trip back was RM$5 - inexpensive and a fantastic way to explore Malaysia if budget is tight.
My ticket back home

After tucking into a few more nasi lemak at the Kluang Railway. I whacked about 4 before being fully satisfied ! They are 70 cents (RM) each , but they are very very small. Wash it down with a cool ice coffee..Bliss.

2 nasi lemak opened and ready to be swallowed !
Behind my ice coffee to cool me down. 

The train arrived 15 minutes late -no problems ! Unfortunately, the air-con was down too. This trains have fixed windows, so you can't really roll them down. I found the best spot which is to stand in between carriages and leave the door open so that the air outside can come in. I stood for the entire 4 hour journey - no problems has it gave me opportunity to take some brilliant shots of the surrounding area as we made our journey home.
The old Kluang sign next to the new Kluang sign

Last look at the Kluang station

Woodlands Causeway and the water pipes

Passing by forested areas (kids don't try taking photos like this)

Vehicles have to wait for us. This sight is something
you would not see again in Singapore. 
Previous Post
Tanjong Pagar Railway train ride to Kluang
Kluang (Part I)
Kluang (Part II)

Thursday, June 09, 2011

Kluang (Part II)

Continued from: Kluang (Part I ) & Tanjong Pagar Railway train ride to Kluang

When you visit Kluang, do spent time looking at its buildings and architecture as well. In the town itself, i noticed a number of buildings dating back to the 50's. Some might be older but unfortunately, i didn't enough time to investigate and i didn't do enough research before going there.

Below are some pictures of old buildings i took around town:
Singapore Hotel (1956)
Tong Ah Company
loved the design of its company name and the
old feel of its business
On the walls of a building.
A motiff of a dragon (?) with dagger in its mouth
Road signs after fruits !
Roads making me hungry !
and motels for swifts...

Monday, June 06, 2011

Kluang (Part I)

Continued from: Tanjong Pagar Railway train ride to Kluang

Arrived at Kluang finally ! First stop is to chill out and have a proper breakfast. Earlier, I made it in time to Tanjong Pagar Railway station by skipping breakfast and picking up just a bun to stop the hunger pangs during the train ride. So upon arriving in Kluang, i am really hungry ! Right next to the platform and opposite the ticketing booth is the famous Kluang Rail Coffee.
Kluang Rail Coffee
(right next to Kluang railway station)
Established in 1938 by the Lim family in what would have been a railway canteen, serving passengers alighting or transiting through Kluang, it now has several branches in Petaling Jaya, Selangor (1-Utama Mall & Ikano Power Centre). The original serves charcol-grilled bread /bun with real butter and kaya, half-boiled eggs, packed nasi lemak,mee and mee siam. That's it and it has been their menu for years ! From what i read, the original is cheaper, tastier and well, nostalgic! Unfortunately, when i arrived, the popular packed nasi lemak was sold out (not surprising). I made reservation for 6 which i collected and tucked in later.

Immediately i ordered and tucked in my toast (both bread/bun), half-boiled eggs, black coffee to cool me down after the train ride and a packed noodle. (Yes i was hungry)

Charcoal-grilled bun, with butter
and kaya ozzing out
charcoal grilled toast, with butter and kaya ozzing out
Do note its Operating hours are from:
Friday -Wednesday : 7 am to 12 noon , 2.30 pm to 6 pm. (it does not open for lunch) and it closes on Thursday.

After breakfast, i walked over to the ticketing booth to secure my tickets back home. Hoping to catch glimpse of Bukit Timah Railway station and the scenery, i opted for a 3.30 pm train back. This is a budget train which is slower and is free seating (later upon returning, i found out its air con broke down as well...but that's another story for another post) . The cost RM$5 !
With 3 hours to spare, its time to explore this quaint town.

Tanjong Pagar Railway train ride to Kluang

Bought a ticket at the Tanjong Pagar Railway station for a train ride to Kluang, Johor to experience the last rides from Tanjong Pagar Railway station before it closes on 1st July. A ticket there cost $16 SGD one-way.
All ready to travel !
Its May 31, and i reached there at 7.40 am and already was a crowd of people queuing either to try to get last minute tickets or is going through the Malaysian Immigration and Customs. This anomaly is something you will not see in the future, where the Malaysian Immigration is smack right in the middle of central Singapore !
Morning pasengers waiting to
clear Immigration
Malaysian Immigration in Central Singapore !
A legacy of a past relationship 
At 8:05 am, whether you cleared Immigration & Customs or not, the Platform master blows his whistle and starts to rigorously wave his flag to indicate to passengers to get on board train 2 -Ekspress Rakyat (The People's Express).
8:10 am and getting ready to board
View of Tanjong Pagar departure
platform from train

It is a Tuesday morning and the start of the school holidays and probably that was one of the reasons for a good mixture of adults and youngsters. There was a family queuing behind me with their children. Onboard the train, there was several school children going for some excursion up north as well ! How wonderful.

By 8:10 am, with a couple of blows to its whistle, train no 2 is on the move ! The scenery was pretty boring until closer to Bukit Timah Railway Station, whereby we pass by Clementi Woods. I even saw a Caucasian jogger , running along a path in a wooded area as well as several black-and-white houses between the greenery.

I was very happy we stopped about 15 minutes to wait for a south-bound train to pass. Not just me of course ! A number of people, decided to use this opportunity to get down the train and take pictures as well.

Bukit Timah Railway station
With an authoritative blow of the station master whistle coupled by the train horn, its off again we go passing the fringe of Bukit Timah nature reserve before passing by roads which cars are temporarily inconvenienced by the passing of our train. The woody landscape eventually changes to grasslands and marshlands of Kranji.  We have arrived at the Woodlands Immigration checkpoint. All passengers have to get down the train to clear the Singapore Immigration. Clearing it was a breeze and you could see signs that the new co-located Malaysian Immigration counters being set-up jointly in this building.

Before long, the landscape has changed and we are in the state of Johor passing through plantations. The land close to the tracks seem to be fully utilised and some of the crops i seen growing on the way to Kluang  includes coffee trees with their ripen red seeds, dragon fruit trees, vegetables, guava and durians.  The train stopped to pick up passengers in Kempas at 9:57 am  and later Kulai. New passengers replaced the disembarking ones. A couple of swift hotels along the way caught my eye. This are easily recognised as buildings with no windows but pipe holes lining along the outer walls.

By 11.15 am, we arrived at Kluang. (45 minutes off the scheduled arrival time) .

To be continued.....

Previous post on Railway
Old Jurong Railway Track
Bukit Timah Railway Station
Singapore-Malaysia KTM Tanjong Pagar land swap