Next stop – Cantonment

This is it. The last day of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station as a shell space for events like today’s Christmas fair. After this, it’s a long many years before it opens up as Cantonment Mrt station.

It’s funny how as I stood in this empty room, with teal panes a hipster cafe would kill for, the rain and thunder rumbled like a ghost train echoing its throes. Standing in this unvisited room (maybe it was too creepy for some?) made me feel all 116 years of this structure – whispering its final farewell.


Outside was a different matter altogether. The rain didn’t stop many wanting their last quirky selfie, as they hopped onto the tracks, balancing brolly and dignity as they did their best poses for some Instagram-likes. My favourite was the Indian human choo-choo train.

Being the voyeur that I am, I watched with amusement at the overdressed ones who were hoping to do their “just-me-dressing-normally-in-a-day-of-a-derelict-location” shots. They ended up squatting unceremoniously at small alcoves, faces bored and waiting for the rain and crowds to cooperate. Last I saw when I left an hour odd later, they were still bored and waiting.

My fondest memory of this station, was taking an overnight train to KL on a sleeper. The train was noisy, rattling like an angry machine animal venting for working through the night. I slept near the carriage door, and remember being kept awake, either by people slamming the door as they crossed carriages (which was like every 15 mins – and yes even at 4am in the morning), or by people leaving it ajar, thus allowing the metal symphony from outside to perform full blast to a groggy me.

But I loved it. As I walked through the tracks today, seeing hefty switches and levers around the place, I remember my fondness for train and their stations because of their old-world charm. They were the planes of their times, signifying trade, transport and travel.


I happened onto this shot, adjusting my camera for another. This combination of rock, cement and metal will always have a special place in my heart.

Goodbye my old-school railway Dame. Thank you for your rides. Much love.

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