Tanjong Pagar Railway Station

General Information

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, located along Keppel Road, used to be the main passenger station for trains run by the Malaysian rail operator Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Berhad travelling between Singapore and Malaysia. Previously known as the Keppel Road Railway Station, the building was opened in 1932 to serve as the terminus for the West Coast line of the KTM railway. In April 2011, the station was gazetted as a national monument. The last train departure from Tanjong Pagar station took place before a large crowd on 30 June 2011, marking an end to the station’s 79 years of service.

Built by French construction firm Brossard and Mopin Ltd, the station sits on reclaimed land, with its foundation buttressed by reinforced concrete piles. Constructed between 1929 and 1932, the station was officially opened by Governor Sir Cecil Clementi on 2 May 1932. The station’s location directly opposite the Tanjong Pagar docks facilitated the easy transfer of cargo between steamships and railway trains. Besides functioning as a train station, the building also housed the Singapore Manufacturers Exhibition of 1932 prior to its official opening.

In a 1918 agreement, the British colonial government had handed over ownership of some 200ha of railway land in Singapore, including the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, to the Federated Malay States Railway (FMSR) on a 999-year leasehold term. After the independence of Malaysia, ownership went to KTM Berhad, a successor company to the FMSR owned by the Malaysian government. As part of the separation agreement that Singapore signed with Malaysia in 1965, KTM Berhad was allowed to retain control of the railway land, meaning that Tanjong Pagar Railway Station became part of Malaysian sovereign territory. Arising from this arrangement, travellers had to clear Malaysian customs even when boarding the train from Singapore.

To resolve the issue of railway land ownership, the two governments signed a bilateral accord in 1990 in which Malaysia agreed to vacate the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in return for three parcels of land in Singapore. However, implementation of this deal stalled due to unresolved political differences.

More complications arose in 1998, when the Singapore immigration authorities shifted their operations to the newly opened Woodlands checkpoint but Malaysian immigration officials remained at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. This created an unusual situation in which passengers who boarded trains at the station were first cleared for entry to Malaysia by Malaysian customs before being cleared for exit from Singapore by Singaporean customs.

It was only in 2010, after breakthrough talks between both countries, that joint statements were issued in May and September of 2010 calling for the implementation of the 1990 accord. KTM Berhad subsequently agreed to vacate the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station by 1 July 2011 and shift its operations to Woodlands Train Checkpoint. In exchange for vacating the railway land at Tanjong Pagar and other areas, Malaysia was promised ownership of six other land parcels in Singapore to be jointly developed by both governments.

On 8 April 2011, the Preservation of Monuments Board (PMB) gazetted the building as a national monument. The impending closure of the station aroused unprecedented public interest towards the building, with many visitors signing up for guided tours conducted by PMB. Enthusiasts took pictures to preserve the memory of the station, while other visitors purchased KTM souvenirs or sought autographs from station staff. Train rides were also fully booked as many tried to get a seat on board the last few journeys out of the station.

General Information

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, located along Keppel Road, used to be the main passenger station for trains run by the Malaysian rail operator Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) Berhad travelling between Singapore and Malaysia. Previously known as the Keppel Road Railway Station, the building was opened in 1932 to serve as the terminus for the West Coast line of the KTM railway. In April 2011, the station was gazetted as a national monument. The last train departure from Tanjong Pagar station took place before a large crowd on 30 June 2011, marking an end to the station’s 79 years of service.

Built by French construction firm Brossard and Mopin Ltd, the station sits on reclaimed land, with its foundation buttressed by reinforced concrete piles. Constructed between 1929 and 1932, the station was officially opened by Governor Sir Cecil Clementi on 2 May 1932. The station’s location directly opposite the Tanjong Pagar docks facilitated the easy transfer of cargo between steamships and railway trains. Besides functioning as a train station, the building also housed the Singapore Manufacturers Exhibition of 1932 prior to its official opening.

In a 1918 agreement, the British colonial government had handed over ownership of some 200ha of railway land in Singapore, including the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, to the Federated Malay States Railway (FMSR) on a 999-year leasehold term. After the independence of Malaysia, ownership went to KTM Berhad, a successor company to the FMSR owned by the Malaysian government. As part of the separation agreement that Singapore signed with Malaysia in 1965, KTM Berhad was allowed to retain control of the railway land, meaning that Tanjong Pagar Railway Station became part of Malaysian sovereign territory. Arising from this arrangement, travellers had to clear Malaysian customs even when boarding the train from Singapore.

To resolve the issue of railway land ownership, the two governments signed a bilateral accord in 1990 in which Malaysia agreed to vacate the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in return for three parcels of land in Singapore. However, implementation of this deal stalled due to unresolved political differences.

More complications arose in 1998, when the Singapore immigration authorities shifted their operations to the newly opened Woodlands checkpoint but Malaysian immigration officials remained at Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. This created an unusual situation in which passengers who boarded trains at the station were first cleared for entry to Malaysia by Malaysian customs before being cleared for exit from Singapore by Singaporean customs.

It was only in 2010, after breakthrough talks between both countries, that joint statements were issued in May and September of 2010 calling for the implementation of the 1990 accord. KTM Berhad subsequently agreed to vacate the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station by 1 July 2011 and shift its operations to Woodlands Train Checkpoint. In exchange for vacating the railway land at Tanjong Pagar and other areas, Malaysia was promised ownership of six other land parcels in Singapore to be jointly developed by both governments.

On 8 April 2011, the Preservation of Monuments Board (PMB) gazetted the building as a national monument. The impending closure of the station aroused unprecedented public interest towards the building, with many visitors signing up for guided tours conducted by PMB. Enthusiasts took pictures to preserve the memory of the station, while other visitors purchased KTM souvenirs or sought autographs from station staff. Train rides were also fully booked as many tried to get a seat on board the last few journeys out of the station.

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