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

19 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 at Medium.com

  12. Miss the delicious nasi bryani at the station’s canteen….

  13. Tanjong Pagar platform to be fully reinstated after building of new MRT station

    27 May 2016
    Channel NewsAsia

    The canopy structures of the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station building will be dismantled and fully restored after the completion of the new Circle Line Cantonment station in 2025, the Land Transport Authority (LTA), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and Singapore Land Authority (SLA) said in a joint statement on Friday (May 27).

    “The old train platform canopies are important to the history and memories of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, a national monument with deep historical, architectural and social significance,” the authorities said in the release.

    “The decision to reinstate the canopy structures was taken following consultations with members of the heritage community, as well as detailed studies conducted with an architectural conservation specialist on its technical viability.”

    In October last year, LTA engaged a heritage consultant and briefed members of the heritage community on possible plans for the iconic Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, which is set to make way for the construction of the new Cantonment MRT station.

    The options were to either dismantle, store, then reinstate the old railway station platform; re-create a replica of the platform; or create a new interpretation of the platform. Heritage groups expressed support for the reinstatement of the platform.

    On Friday, the authorities said LTA called a tender for “advanced works to dismantle, repair, and reinstate the former railway station’s train platform canopy structures”. This will help to “retain the sense of heritage and memories of the old train platform area,” they added.

    The new station will be built under the platform area of the former railway station, and integrated with the railway station building. To facilitate the building work, about 290m of each of the two old platforms will be dismantled. The first 80m of each platform, extending from the railway station building, will be unaffected by building work and will be protected throughout the construction, the authorities added.

    The integration of the new and old train stations will give commuters not only greater transport accessibility and connectivity, but also a unique travelling experience, the agencies said.

    “Tanjong Pagar Railway Station will be used as a multi-functional community building for 20 years after the new MRT station is completed. The MRT station will give it a new lease of life, and contribute to making the railway station a highly accessible and vibrant community node of the Rail Corridor,” they added in the release.

    Starting from the fourth quarter of this year, the appointed contractor will dismantle the canopy structures – comprising the roof, beams and columns, and store them at a nearby restoration yard. The appointed contractor will then repair and restore the structures, and reinstate them with reconstructed platform slabs in 2025 after the Cantonment station has been completed.

    Mr Ho Weng Hin, Partner of Studio Lapis, an architectural conservation specialist consultancy firm involved in the works, said the method of dismantling, restoring, and reinstating the platform structures was developed over months to concentrate on the canopy structures, which are of “high heritage and architectural significance”.

    This was done after conducting heritage surveys, studying existing conditions, and working with various parties to review the pros and cons of alternative strategies, he added.

    The SLA has opened the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to the public every public holiday since February 2015, in response to “keen interest” from Singaporeans to visit the heritage site.

    The SLA will continue with this practice on every public holiday this year until Christmas Day (Dec 25), it said in the release.

    However, to facilitate the construction of the new MRT station, the railway station will subsequently be closed until the completion of Cantonment station in 2025, the authorities said.

    During construction, maintenance and stabilisation work will be carried out on the railway station building and mitigation measures put in place to protect it and there will be measures to minimise any potential inconvenience and disturbance to residents and businesses nearby, they added.


  14. More than 30,000 bid farewell to Tanjong Pagar Railway station

    26 December 2016
    The Straits Times

    More than 30,000 people turned up to say farewell to the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station on Christmas, Shin Min Daily News reported. The national monument was opened to the public from 9am to 9pm on Sunday (Dec 25).

    The station has hosted the public on public holidays for the last few years, and this was the last public event to be held before it closes for re-development. There were musical performances and a Christmas market to entertain visitors. They could also make a donation to the Community Chest and hop onto a train that took them around the station.

    The station will be closed till 2025 for the construction of the Cantonment MRT station on the Circle Line. When the new MRT station is complete, the heritage building will be used as a community building first, and later it will be part of the Greater Southern Waterfront.

    Tanjong Pagar Railway Station was officially opened in May 1932 and served as the key operational railway station in Singapore until operations ceased on July 1, 2011. It was gazetted as a national monument that year.

    When Singapore left Malaysia in 1965, Malayan Railway (KTM) retained its railway possessions on Singapore island. Then in a land-swop deal sealed in 2010, Singapore exchanged parcels of land in other areas for the prime land the station stood on. The KTM station has moved to Woodlands.


  15. NS says:

    can anyone tell me the history of a two storey building with a singapura signage at the southern end of the rail corridor? thank you

    • Samuel Giam says:

      The two storey buildings were the signal cabins for the Tanjong Pagar railway station. The one with the “Singapura” sign on black lettering and yellow background was used until the 1990s, the one with the white lettering on blue background sign meters before the big wall with the KTM logo was the recent signal cabin until the station’s closure.

      Both buildings used lever switches at first, though the recent cabin used an electronic signal board.

  16. ST says:

    Hello all,

    I have finally complied my photos that I took of the train station


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