Monday, September 8, 2014

Historic Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah Tailway Stations 28.2.2013

Featured in this set of four stamps (S$4.01) are the historic Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah railway stations. The Tanjong Pagar railway station, opened on 2 May 1932 by then Governor of Singapore, Sir Cecil Clementi, is a fine example of Modern Architecture with Neo-Classical and Art-Deco influences.
The Bukit Timah railway station, which was part of the three smaller railway stations (i.e. Alexandra and Tanglin Halt), was constructed to serve the suburban areas of Singapore.

Prior to the formation of Malaysia and independence of Singapore in 1965, border control between the two countries were non-existent. After border controls were established, the railway customs clearance coexisted in Tanjong Pagar station. In the 90's Singapore entered into an agreement with Malaysia to relocate the station and checkpoint in order to free up Tanjong Pagar train station's land for development purposes. Unfortunately the points of agreement were interpreted differently. Singapore moved its checkpoint to Woodlands while Malaysia was unwilling to budge its checkpoint, leaving it still in Tanjong Pagar.

This peculiar arrangement means that entry from Singapore to Malaysia by train would have to clear Malaysian customs when boarding at Tanjong Pagar. As the train moves to Woodlands, passengers will have to disembark and clear Singapore customs there. The result? Passengers was granted entry into Malaysia (they have cleared Malaysian customs in Tanjong Pagar) before clearing Singapore customs (they have not clear customs yet as the Singaporean checkpoint is at Woodlands). Imagine the potential confusion resulting from this!

This peculiarity aside, the train station itself is a marvel of a bygone colonial era. Marble colonnades and art deco architecture lent it an air of historical value. Its popularity is evident in that even after it ceased operations in 2011, the Singaporean public still applied to use the venue for events.

Featured together with the Tanjong Pagar railway station in this FDC is the Bukit Timah railway station. Unlike the terminus, this station is rather nondescript. It is in fact just a crossing loop station, not expecting to receive or disembark any passengers. Its historical value lies in the fact that it serviced the railway line between Singapore and Malaysia until Tanjong Pagar railway station ceased its operation.

No comments:

Post a Comment