Old Railway Station ~ Places to Visit
in Kuala Lumpur
KL Visitors Guide
KL LAKE GARDENS AREA > OLD RAILWAY
building and gazetted as a heritage site,
it is a magnificent piece of Mughal architecture and a reminder of this
City's bygone era.
The Railway station began service as the central hub for all the trains of
Federated Malay States Railways and once linked Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
and to British field stations throughout Malaya and to Bangkok.
The station's platforms are
roofed by large steel-framed shelters, which were glazed and partially
opened initially. The ceiling is high and broad, to suit the tropical heat
and allow for airflow to cool the place.
Situated at Jalan Sultan
Hishamuddin previously known as Victory Avenue, it was designed by Arthur
Benison Hubback (AB Hubback), the same government architect who designed
most of the distinctive buildings of Mughal architecture in then Malaya.
Kuala Lumpur's Railway History
Prior to the construction of this train station, two stations
were already operational in then old KL.
The first railroad lines were constructed in 1886 and with this, the first
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station called the Resident Station, named as such due
to its proximity to the official residence of British Resident, was located
opposite to the Selangor Club towards the west.
Constructed of wood, the station linked Kuala Lumpur to Klang (Pengkalan
Batu; then an important waterway for transport ) and also connected Kuala
Lumpur with the rest of the Malay Peninsula. Resident Station was demolished
after construction of the new Kuala Lumpur station was completed.
The second station, Sultan Street Station, was constructed in 1892 at Foch
Avenue (now Tun Tan Cheng Lock Road), close to the present Maybank Tower and
Puduraya bus station. Stationed along the Pudu railway line, it connected
mines from Ampang to the city.
The line was unique in that the initial leg
of the track approaching Sultan Street Station from the main line was
sandwiched between two carriageways of Foch Avenue, cutting across the east
side of the city.
The Sultan Street Station was replaced with a smaller
station when the tracks at Foch Avenue were dismantled for road traffic, and
finally demolished around 1960.
The present or rather this old Kuala Lumpur
Train Station was initially
done in 1910 and began service as the central hub for all the trains of
Federated Malay States Railways (FMSR), later to become the Malayan Railway
Administration (MRA), Malaya's rail system and from 1962, by Keretapi Tanah
Melayu (Malayan Railways).
By 1914, the Station initially consisted of a main terminal building at the
front and three platforms serving four railway lines at the back. In 1915,
an extension of the Station of a 30-room Hotel and several other buildings
were built. As the central station, it also linked Singapore to Kuala Lumpur
and to British field stations throughout Malaya and to Bangkok.
The main structure, which contains a main hall, ticket counters and offices,
is primarily designed in a "Raj" styling, mixture of Western and Mughal
similar to Moorish Revival or Indo-Saracenic architecture, which enjoyed
brief popularity in late-19th century and early 20th century colonial India,
as well as Europe and the.
Dominated by horseshoe and ogee arches, and large chatris (six originally, with two added later) at the corners of the
building accompanying smaller variations at the front.
In addition to the main station building, a three-storey addition at the
north wing was added early in its operation, adopting Westernised vernacular
designs with surrounding verandas and segmental arches of various widths.
The facade of the station is completely plastered, as opposed to buildings
of similar styles that opt for exposed brickwork, and painted in light
colours (usually white or cream) throughout its service.
The platforms are covered by large steel-framed shelters, which were
initially shorter during the station's early operation.
The roofs were
originally glazed, and were partially opened to allow smoke from steam
locomotives to escape; corrugated roof sheets served as replacements later
in the station's life.
The sides of the platforms not adjoining the main
building are surrounded by walls constructed in the same style as the main
building. The platforms and main building are linked to each other via two
The building was refurbished in the year 1986 with additional facilities
such as air conditioned waiting halls, stalls and information counters.
design of the extended platform for the 1986 refurbishment of the station
took a more modernist approach, consisting simply of large concrete pillars
supporting a latticed roof and a ticket office on concrete slabs at the
north end, suspended two stories above ground.
White walls and arches that
serve as decorations to the extension are more alike that of the Dayabumi
complex than the original station. The new extension is connected to
Dayabumi via an elevated walkway.
However, with the newly-built KL Sentral taking over, the KL Railway Station
has become a stop solely for commuter trains. The rest go to KL Sentral,
which is located a kilometer away. After 90 years of operation, the Kuala
Lumpur Railway Station has now seen the end of its heyday. A mini railway
museum has been added to fill some of the underutilised concourse space. The
museum, which can be vastly improved upon than it is, displays some relics
from bygone days of Malaysian (& Malayan) railway history such as train
tickets, uniforms, lamps, crockery, toast racks, maps, posters and signal
KTM Headquarters Building
Keeping in style with its architecture, across the street from the station
itself is the equally beautiful building by Mr. Hubback, housing the KTM (Keretapi
Tanah Melayu) Headquarters. The building completed in 1917, was originally
built as the new F. M. S Railway Administration Headquarters.
You can cross
easily between the two via an underground passage. The inside still shows
delightful architectural touches that echo those of the train station across
Heritage Station Hotel
Other than serving as a railway station, the building used to house a
colonial-era Station Hotel which was one of the grandest in its time.
The Hotel however, is a frozen-in-time spectacle all of its own. The lobby
elevator has a door that you pull open and closed manually, and operates off
a hand lever just like in the old movies. There is a bar with high ceiling
fans, faded mirrors and an oak bar polished over time.
Roaming around the
nearly-empty hotel, one stumbles into dark ballrooms and high ceiling
sitting rooms. It was the way Things Used to Be; not necessarily the best of
times, as colonials lorded over those they employed, but a piece of history
is still drawing breath that you can walk through.
Now called The Heritage
Hotel, it has degraded with the times with a lack of upkeep. You can still
get a room here, but it is not advisable now.
Hopefully someday, someone, will bring it back to its splendour.
Other places within a short walk is the National Mosque and
the Islamic Arts
Best Way to Visit -
A private tour that allows you to see the major landmarks of the city and
PLACES & SIGHTSEEING ~ LAKE GARDENS AREA
PARLIAMENT HOUSE •
NATIONAL MONUMENT •
BUTTERFLY PARK •
ORCHID & HIBISCUS GARDENS
• KL BIRD PARK
• ISLAMIC ARTS
MUSEUM • NATIONAL
• OLD RAILWAY