30th June 2011 – The day that marks the end of operations for the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. Established on 3rd May 1932, the railway station and tracks were on a 999-year lease with KTM, where passengers, tourists and business travellers commute between Singapore and Malaysia.
Emotions were running high for many older generation folks. The elderly were seen gathering around the empty canteen, sitting on the soon-to-be removed chairs and reminiscing the good old days. Many others stood around the station, mesmerized by the nostalgic surroundings.
The curious younger generation, including myself, was there to witness the historical event, which future generations could only read about it in books or watch it on the television. This is one event that the media will not miss, with many journalists and radio stations documenting the moment. Families were seen taking pictures together as keepsakes, and not forgetting the enthusiastic shutterbugs.
The last KTM driven by the Sultan of Johor was the highlight of the event. Hundreds of people were waiting eagerly as the last train makes its final stop in Singapore. As Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar appear at the platform, a slight commotion arose. Nevertheless, he remained composed and walked slowly amid the crowd, patiently shaking hands with the audience.
The locomotive assistant driver’s was an instant hero. Dressed in blue, he was surrounded by the crowd, snapping his pictures and trying to shake hands with the man. The crowd was also granted access into the train, allowing the avid shutterbugs shots of passengers leaving the station.
One particular scene caught my attention. An Indian man was standing firmly at the side, clapping his hands and shouting, “Well done. Thank you very much!” This was my instinct shot of him.
With a heavy heart, the time for the train to depart has arrived. Throwing danger to the wind, people moved from the platform to the railway tracks, to send off the train. Sadness was in the air and the noise seemed insignificant. I knew I would never get to experience this again. One will only treasure something when it is lost. The last horn sounded off, marking the significant moment, towards the betterment of Singapore.
P.S. Thanks Nat!