Friday, July 1, 2011

Last train out gets royal send-off

SINGAPORE: Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd's (KTMB) historic train service which has been operating from the Tanjung Pagar station here for the last 79 years has ended with a royal send-off.
The train was driven for the last time out of the station by Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar at 11pm last night, carrying more than 500 passengers on its coaches.
Smiles were seen on the faces of the KTMB staff and the hundreds of visitors who crowded the old station.
A royal finish: The Sultan of Johor driving the last train out of the Tanjung Pagar station in Singapore as a passenger holds up a thank you card. Railway operations at the station ceased Thursday. - TEO YONG CHEANG / The Star
There was an air of nostalgia somewhat, as they took pictures non-stop and shouted in excitement whenever they heard the horn from the train.
Others sought autographs from KTMB staff. They also crowded the platform to catch a glimpse of the last train.
For taxi driver Zulkifli Md, 30, he felt sad to witness the closing of the Tanjung Pagar station.
“This was the place where many Singaporeans used to come to eat and enjoy the atmosphere.
“Some of my friends even said that when they stepped into the station, it was like they could breathe Malaysian air for a while,” he said, adding that things would not be the same any more.
He said he would miss the eateries and that he would now have to find another place to enjoy his favourite ayam masak merah, a popular dish at one of the stalls at the station.
Another visitor, housewife Surianlins Suryaningsih, 30, said she had never seen so many people at the station before.
“I knew that this would be a historic event and I wanted to be part of the grand send-off.
“From the big crowd today, it is evident that Singaporeans hold this station close to their hearts. I hope the Government will preserve the original building,” she said.
The handing over of the Tanjong Pagar station, built in 1932, follows an agreement made between Singapore and Malaysia last year which includes Singapore taking possession of KTM land here.
In return, Malaysia was offered 60% control of projects developed at prime land parcels around Marina Bay and Ophir Rochor. - theStarOnline

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