Sunday, October 27, 2013

Top 5 Most Beautiful Train Stations in Malaysia

Most of our country's railway stations symbolize our colonial heritage. They should be maintained and treated as antiques. Some of them have very unique designs that are rich in history. It is sad to see many being demolished today. But some are well-sustained, and are even given major makeovers. Here is a list of my Top 5 Most Beautiful Train Stations in Malaysia.

5) Johor Bharu Train Station

This station currently only handles Intercity trains. The city's main train station is now the newly built Johor Bharu Central. It also functions as the Malayan Railways' Southern Region Mini Museum. This station is very close to the Malaysia-Singapore Causeway. It has a much simpler colonial design than compared to the other stations in this list, but still much grander than most small train stations in the country.



4) Kuala Kangsar Train Station

Perak already houses two of the most historically valuable train stations in the country, the Ipoh and Taiping stations. The older Kuala Kangsar station is just as rich in history, but is allegedly too old to be retained and has been demolished to make way for the new station. The new station has striking middle eastern architecture, much like the town's Old Palace and mosque which is not far away from where it is located.



3) Anak Bukit Train Station

This is the new station in Alor Star and not the older colonial one with the iconic clock tower. The government almost demolished that one back in 2001 to relocate the station here in Anak Bukit. Thanks to protesting locals,  the station has been well-maintained ever since. It still remains as one Kedah's historical landmarks. The new train station of Alor Star is the Anak Bukit Train Station has Moorish features like the more famous Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur stations.



2) Ipoh Train Station

From the architecture, you can tell this station was designed by the same person who designed other iconic buildings in the country such as the Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, the Jamek Mosque, the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad Building and the old Kuala Lumpur City Hall Building. Arthur Benison Hubback, the British architectural assistant to the Director of Public Works back during colonial times used to serve in India, and therefore made good use his knowledge in Anglo-Asian architecture on the designs. Opened in 1935, the station also has its own hotel for travelers; the Majestic Hotel. It is more commonly known among locals as the Taj Mahal of Ipoh because of its Moorish-Mughal design. The station was also one of the shooting locations for the 1999 Hollywood film, Anna and the King.



1) Kuala Lumpur Train Station

Today, this station only handles commuter trains while the newer, much larger KL Central serves as the city's main train station. Hubback once again opted for a Neo-Moorish design which he is famous for. Completed in 1920, the station represents how cosmopolitan Malaysia is as it combines both western and eastern styles, adding to its historical and cultural value. Its turrets are currently painted white.  The steel girders above the platforms have been well-maintained over the years although the interior has been renovated. Since 2001, the much larger  transit-oriented KL Central, which is also the largest train station in Southeast Asia has replaced Kuala Lumpur Railway Station.