The word on many Singaporeans' lips yesterday was the closing of Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. You never know what you miss when it is gone. Many Singaporeans turned up on the last day of operations of the KTM trains yesterday, to have a last look. But I suspect that many came to have the first look. Except for history buffs, and buildings buffs, few would venture into this railway station on a normal day. They'd rather hit the Malls where there are lots more to see and do than to come to this place where the most exciting thing happening is the arrival and departure of the, let's admit it, ultra-slow trains. And even then, once you've seen it often enough, it will probably be a bore.
I took this train up to Malacca a few years ago, and the entire journey took 3 hours! I would have almost reached KL in the same time if I went up by private car by the North-South Highway. It is a train system that probably has seen little improvements over the years. Truth be told, some parts of the train are rusted. But at least I sat in first class coach. It wasn't exactly the Eastern Orient Express First Class, but it was comfortable. Moreover, it was just S$50 from Singapore's side, and RM50 from Malaysia's side.
My wife and I were in front of the TV when the news came on yesterday. It showed many people milling around and taking pictures. We looked at each other with knowing glances. Were we glad we took this train some years back. At least we now have bragging rights.