It has been slightly more than three years and a half since the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station bade farewell to the last train. Although gazetted as a National Monument in 2013, the now silent station is but an empty shell and remains out of bounds to the general public save for special events.
Well not anymore. The second day of the Chinese New Year saw the beginning of the station being made accessible to everyone on public holidays. And when there is a chance to allow my monkies to be exposed to a part of Singapore's history, you can be certain we will be there.
Very cooperative models I have got, no?
The distinctive architectural style of the building is an ornamented Art Deco one - an eclectic style that combines traditional craft motifs with Machine Age imagery and materials. On its exterior are four pillars with large statues, each symbolising one of the then Malaya’s four economic pillars, Agriculture, Industry, Commerce and Transport.
Inside the main public hall, the lobby features batik-styled mosaic mural panels filled with Malayan scenes: rice planting, rubber tapping, shipping activities, bullock cart transport, crop-growing and tin mining.
But there was always only going to be one place that the monkies were going to zoom to.
The railway tracks, of course!
How often can one get to walk - or sit on - an actual railway SAFELY? Heh.
It turned out that there were quite a number of other families and people who took the opportunity to drop by the station and snap photos against the scenic backdrop. The wifey and I, included.
One of the last remaining bits of heritage left in the Tanjong Pagar area, the station is truly a place that offers a serene surrounding that can no longer be found in modern Singapore. Like a place forgotten by time, the silent beauty of the station took us back to a time when Singapore was much simpler as the monkies had a field day exploring the many now-empty control brick rooms.
Personally, I would have loved it more if there were fringe activities such as a guided tour and a photo exhibition depicting the grand contributions of the station, so that families with young kids can learn more and partake in its history. Perhaps for future Open Houses?
But either way, it is definitely a great place to visit the historical monument for a leisurely stroll along the track with the family and obviously, take photos and more photos.
It is always important to allow places of historical significance like the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station to remain accessible to the general public, so that not only adults but kids too will be able to know more about its significance to Singapore during its 79 years of operation.
Well, the monkies sure had their fair share of fun.
And if you are thinking of bringing your kids down for a stroll, you do not have to wait until the next public holiday. The station will be open to public again TOMORROW (27 Feb 2015) for a flea market from 6pm to 11pm. Don't miss it!