Sunday, 01 February 2009
I spent a bit of time in Gua Musang old town today noon, and a must-visit was the immortal train station, an icon in Malaysian rail travel. I first frequented Gua Musang station in my childhood days, the time of the huge, black, hissing steam locomotives, for my rides from Kuala Krai to Kuala Lipis to visit my grandparents who were pioneer rubber tappers in the jungles of Pahang. Back then, rail was the only form of transport in this then desolate hinterland.
The old town of Gua Musang is virtually a one-street town, located about 300km north of Kuala Lumpur, just north of the Kelantan-Pahang border. It lies some 180km south of Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan, making it the southermost town, cum the southern gateway, of the state.
And seemingly plastered to the huge limestone hills, the venerable train station, most of it still in original form. Till the early 80s, this was the only Gua Musang’s port to the rest of the world.
Up close and stairs to enter the station proper.
The ticket counter, as it has been for decades.
On the open platform and looking back into the station shelter, a faint greeting for visitors.
Looking north along the platform …
… and looking south. These views have not changed much since I was first here decades ago. Well, maybe the canopy and the tiles are new-ish.
It’s not illegal to cross the tracks at this spot, as per the red notice oustide the station master’s office …
… but make sure there’s no moving train which can turn you into mince-meat in a jiffy.
The station name, unfortunately not in its original white-wash cement plaque any more, which is a pity.
Next to the platform, a signal box houses a mechanical lever frame to allow safe passage of trains, a matter of life and death. I only know the red levers are for stop signals.
Above the levers, some important-looking indicators, which I have little knowledge of.
Next to the station, on a siding, a sorry-looking coach which must have traveled the whole length of the peninsula during its hey-days …
… but now only has a rusty bogey as company.
A close-up of the derelict coach …
… and another view.
As I leave the station, I bump into a really antique rolling stock on display, probably hand-powered?
A new Gua Musang station is almost ready for use, just less than a kilometer south of the above (old) station. Once that modern station is operational, my bet is the oldie above will be left to rot to become just a figment of history.
Travel further south of Gua Musang, and you’ll find more limestone hills.
Looking east along National Highway Federal Route 8 (thanks to Maarof for road name correction), the spectacular mountains of Taman Negara straddle the Kelantan-Pahang border.
Crossing the state border into Pahang, a long-abandoned traditional Malay house crumbles.
A typical Malay village cemetery, next-door neighbour to the abandoned house.
The virgin jungles of northern Pahang are not hampering telecommunications. All along Highway 8, a vital link between Kuala Lumpur and Kota Bharu, almost 500km to the north on the east coast, cellular coverage is pretty decent.
A tower even in the middle of the road? 😀
In central Pahang, sun rays break through the dark, moisture-laden comulus, and 2 hours later, we arrive Kuala Lumpur.
> THE END
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