Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

Completed on 3rd of May 1932, Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is owned by Malaysia’s Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM). It is the southernmost terminal of the Malaysian Railway (West Coast Line).

Before the completion of this terminal, passengers taking the trains boarded and alighted at Tank Road station, part of the Singapore-Kranji railway that was built in 1903. Other than Tank Road, the railway line also had eight other stations (Pasir Panjang, Borneo Wharf, Newton, Cluny Road, Holland Road, Bukit Timah, Bukit Panjang and Woodlands).

After the causeway was built in 1923, the railway in Singapore linked up with its Malaysian counterpart. Previously, passengers need to use ferry boats to cross the 1km straits.

The design of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is modeled after Finland’s Helsinki Central Railway Station. The four giant figures at the entrance of the station representing Industry, Agriculture, Commerce and Transport were the works of Italian sculptor Rudolfo Nolli (1888 – 1963).

The interior of the railway station is spacious and houses many small eateries, including a famous Nasi Biryani stall dubbed as one of the best in Singapore. There used to be a lot of street hawkers at the carpark outside the railway station. They gradually disappeared in the 80s, after the station’s eateries opened up to public for leasing.

For generations, a family business runs a small shop that is a money changer, book store and convenience shop all rolled into one.

The tall ceiling of the main hall ensures enough sunlight covers the building, giving it a bright and cheerful feeling. In the past, there were hotel accommodation for tourists and visitors on the second floor (known as Lim Eng Peng’s Station Hotel, closed in 1993).

There are six murals on the walls of the main hall, which also represent the four themes of the railway station (ie Industry, Agriculture, Commerce and Transport).

The expressionist-styled murals, displaying Malaysian art, still possess rich and vibrant colours even after 70-plus years. It mostly contains the colours of yellow and orange to express a tropical feel, and the pictures demonstrate the life in Malaysia and Singapore of the early 19th century.

The railway station also houses the offices of Malaysian Custom and Malaysian Police.

Commuters can take the trains which travel along the west coast of Malaysia, passing by major Malaysian cities such as Johor Bahru, Kluang, Seremban, Kuala Lumpur (capital), Ipoh, Taiping, Penang and all the way to the Malaysia-Thailand border. The total distance is close to 950km. There is also another line that splits from Gemas and cuts through the heart and reaches the east coast of the peninsula.

In April 2011, the government announced that the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station will be conserved as national monument. Prior to this, there had been suggestions to turn the place into a museum, or refurbish it into a pub-and-restaurant.

The railway station is officially closed on 1st July 2011, bring the curtains down on its glorious 80-year history. Commuters will have to catch the northbound trains and depart from the new Woodlands station in the future.

See Singapore Railway for information on the other parts of the railway system in Singapore.

Published: 23 October 2010

Updated: 26 October 2011

12 Responses to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

  1. Project 79 says:

    The destiny of meeting The One at the railway station,
    Did you take the chance?
    The undeniable spark of the eyes of 2 strangers while waiting for the right train,
    Did you miss the chance?
    Your most memorable train journey,
    Was it a coincident or a mere accident?
    No it must be something more!
    We need your story!
    Let your fragments of memory be pieced together to form a lasting picture! It is neither a coincident nor an accident so do give your story a voice and share it with us!
    * Entries from first-timers to the railway station are welcomed as well! Your memories are equally intimate and special!
    — — — — —
    Project 79 Share Your Story Contest!
    Do you have any memorable stories from the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station? Send it to us now.
    Share your story within 200 words, and submit it along with a photograph that best reflects the story. Entries are to be written in either English or Chinese language
    Top winning entry will get a chance to publish his or her photo as postcards in 10,000 copies – which will be distributed at more than 100 places in Singapore.
    For any further enquiries or comments. please contact Project 79 committee by email at project79.np@gmail.com or look out for us at our facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Project-79/201689243185553

  2. Saravanan (Kanna) says:

    Missed my childhood days living near the Railway station and cycling there………………………………..

  3. Diyana says:

    I am so glad they decided to conserve this. It’s so sad to see another landmark gone

  4. zain says:

    Preserve the main building..the mural..etc..all are valuable assets to many more generations after us!!!

  5. The railway station in the early 1970s!

  6. Peter Dunlop author "Street names of Singapore" says:

    I hope that some of the platforms and their roofs will be preserved.I particularly like the roof edge “fretwork” made in concrete after the style of traditional timber detailing but much more suitable in a climate blessed with white ants

  7. Bizley Yong says:

    I’m curious and was wondering if there is more information (and photos) to the hotel located on the second floor (known as Lim Eng Peng’s Station Hotel, closed in 1993)?

  8. konshoe says:

    Accidentally stumbled into this article of yours, which was really great by the way! SingPost launched a First Day Cover a few months back to commemorate the train station: http://draftsfromcoffeetable.blogspot.sg/2013/08/travel-through-philately-singapores.html

  9. Food stalls at former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station may be revived

    21 Aug 2014

    SINGAPORE: The Singapore Land Authority said on Thursday (Aug 21) that it is conducting a feasibility study on whether it could bring in some food stalls to serve local fare at the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station (TPRS).

    Replying to a query by Channel NewsAsia, the SLA spokesperson said: “We are now conducting a feasibility study to expand the range of interim use, possibly having some food stalls serving local fare that the public can enjoy. However, we must stress that we are at a preliminary stage and hence, not able to provide more details at this time.”

    The spokesperson also reiterated the growing interest in the use of vacant State properties for ad-hoc events. The former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station will be playing host to upcoming events such as educational tours, a community event and wedding photo shoots, she added.

  10. Lyn says:

    Hope can bring back the oldest day, really miss childhood time n this place remind me of my pass away grandpa….

  11. divijS says:

    So after reading this post about Tanjong Pagar railway station, I decided to explore the old track that led to the station. Starting from Bukit Timah, I cycled along the path of the tracks all to Tanjong Pagar. Unfortunately the path is fenced off about 200m from the station and I had to turn back from the fence. Nevertheless, a weekend morning well spent :)

    I wrote about my ride on my medium page…
    View story at Medium.com

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