Thursday, June 23, 2011

KTM Train Ride from JB Sentral (Malaysia) to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (Singapore)

My facebook friends might recollect a picture i posted two days ago on queuing for railway tickets at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. I didn't manage to get the tickets as the time slot i wanted was fully taken up despite an advance booking of nearly 21 hours!

Fret not! The Gang of Four was adamant to take the KTM train that runs through the middle of Singapore before it officially ceases operation on 01 July 2011.

Since everyone is in a frenzy mode to take the train from Tanjong Pagar to JB Sentral, we figured it might be easier to purchase tickets starting from the opposite end; JB Sentral (opposite City Square Mall and directly next to the Malaysian Checkpoint) to Tanjong Pagar.

Advance booking at JB Sentral is available only an hour before departure and we managed to get the tickets for the express train! No seat number is given and you have to blame it on your bad luck if you could not find a seat.

Thankfully, quite a number of passengers decided to check out at the woodlands checkpoint (necessary for entry to Singapore) and this freed up a lot more seats that allowed the Gang of Four to be seated together.

In the beginning, i stayed in my comfort air-conditioned zone and took blurry photographs with the unsightly glass window separating my lens from the 'real' world.

I just could not bring myself to do what the man above was doing! It's far too dangerous in my opinion and every scene was going too fast to generate a clear picture from my entry level camera. In addition, i was having a mild case of motion sickness!

Nonetheless, my pointy butt could not sit still and i stood up to take pictures within the carriages - like this metal connection that linked two train compartments.

Or pictures of the toilets! For the benefit of the guys, i could say both types of toilets will be alright for urination but not for "big businesses". For ladies who prefer the 'seated' style, you might want to give it a miss!

Things started changing for the better after the train stopped at Bukit Timah Railway Station. Time seemed to have stopped still for this little outpost and like many others; it's fair to feel that you are not in Singapore.

Bukit Timah Railway Station is actually not in use for embarkation or disembarkation and in our case, was used to allow another train to pass.

The back view of the iconic railway bridge that runs close to Albert Park Macdonalds. As you can see, it has only one track that fully explains the need for our train to stop.

You might have noticed quite a number of people surrounding the station. Like the man in this picture, a big percentage was holding cameras to snap memorable shots that will cease to continue after 30 June 2011.

After this pretty long stopover, i decided to keep the heavy metal door open. This shall allow me to take better quality photos that are not smudged with the stains caked on the glass windows.

No doubt it's still dangerous although i admit loving the feel of adrenaline rush whenever i am mere inches away from a slight collision with leaves, branches and even tunnel beams!

To balance myself, i held on dearly to this steel bar. I am amazed no one has gotten hurt (at least i have not read any media report) so far since i was almost thrown off several times! Damn the excitement!

The train track is in fact very near to housing estates (private and public) and cuts across roads and expressways. I might have travelled on the same route while driving my car and yet am oblivious to the existence of this partially hidden train track.

Curved track that allows a better view!

Pictures taken from the first passenger carriage might be more desirable but the pollution is terrible - black smoke marring the peaceful, pristine environment!

Please be careful when the train is running under bridges; the support beams of these structures can definitely break your neck if you stretch too far out.

See the two guys in the photograph? One of them almost got hit! Rule of thumb? Exercise caution!

Frankly, there's really nothing much to see on this ride except for the occasional abandoned houses, small plots of farmland and loads of greenery. But it does give a rural, nostalgic perspective for ex kampong dwellers like myself.

After one hour and ten minutes from JB Sentral, the train finally pulled into Tanjong Pagar Railway Station.

"Singapura" - a term that Singaporeans seldom use nowadays for their country.

Platform on the right is for departures. The recent surge in demand for Singapore-Malaysia train tickets means that it's close to impossible for me to take the train from this platform.

According to the authorities, this area has been gazetted as a national monument. It would not be long before we see another heritage museum sprouting out in Singapore.

Empty train carriage.

The end of our train journey that cuts through the centre of Singapore and likely our last...

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For my separate post on Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, please click HERE.

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