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Old Railway Station ~ Places to Visit in Kuala Lumpur
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HOME > VISITORS GUIDE > PLACES TO VISIT > KL LAKE GARDENS AREA > OLD RAILWAY STATION


A historical 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.

1886 - The Resident Station was the first Railway Station in Kuala LumpurThe 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.
1892 - The second station, Sultan Street Station, was constructed at Foch Avenue
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.

Construction work on the Kuala Lumpur Railway StationThe 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 Kuala LumpurRailway Station as it stood thenThe 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 platforms are covered by large steel-framed shelters, partially opened to allow smoke from steam locomotives to escapeThe 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 underground passageways.


The building was refurbished in the year 1986 with additional facilities such as air conditioned waiting halls, stalls and information counters.

The 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.
The Old Railway Staion on RM10 banknote issue 1995
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 equipment.

KTM Headquarters BuildingKTM 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 the street.


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.

Note
Other places within a short walk is the National Mosque and the Islamic Arts Centre.
 

Best Way to Visit - KL City Tour
A private tour that allows you to see the major landmarks of the city and its suburbs.


PLACES & SIGHTSEEING ~ LAKE GARDENS AREA
PARLIAMENT HOUSE NATIONAL MONUMENT BUTTERFLY PARK ORCHID & HIBISCUS GARDENS
KL BIRD PARK ISLAMIC ARTS MUSEUM NATIONAL MOSQUE OLD RAILWAY STATION
NATIONAL MUSEUM

 

 

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