Malaysia > Kelantan > Gua Musang Train Station

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.

Location: HERE

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 …img_1839-1

… but make sure there’s no moving train which can turn you into mince-meat in a jiffy.img_1835

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.Β :)

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 …img_1824

… and another view.img_1825

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.img_1866

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.img_1882

Crossing the state border into Pahang, a long-abandoned traditional Malay house crumbles.img_1885-1

A typical Malay village cemetery, next-door neighbour to the abandoned house.img_1890

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.img_1893

A tower even in the middle of the road? πŸ˜€


[pic: Nuni’s]

In central Pahang, sun rays break through the dark, moisture-laden comulus, and 2 hours later, we arrive Kuala Lumpur.img_1897



5 Responses to “Malaysia > Kelantan > Gua Musang Train Station”

  1. Maarof on 02 Feb 2009 at 1532 #

    The correct name for the the road as used by the JKR is ‘Federal Route 8’ or ‘Laluan Persekutuan 8’ and not ‘National Highway 8’.

    Btw a splendid travel report!

  2. naim on 02 Feb 2009 at 1551 #

    Thanks for the correction, Maarof. ‘Federal Route 8′ it is, indeed. Was carried away by some other countries’ road naming schemes. πŸ™‚

  3. BernGPS on 02 Feb 2009 at 2211 #

    So is the telekom tower really in the middle of the road? πŸ™‚

  4. naim on 17 Apr 2009 at 1117 #

    Would love to try this one day. πŸ˜€

    “Gua Musang is fairly close to the Taman Negara entrances at Merapoh and Kuala Koh, but the main reason visitors stop off is to explore the caves that riddle the mass of limestone above the town. Both the caves and the town are named after a small creature, the musang, which looks like a civet and used to live up in the caves; it’s now almost extinct. To get to the caves, cross the railway track at the station and walk through the small kampung in the shadow of the rock behind the station. Here you’ll have to ask one of the villagers to guide you (it’s usual to pay around RM10 for this); it is possible to reach the caves on your own, but the trail – which is directly at the back of the huts – is difficult to negotiate after rain, when it’s likely to be extremely slippery. Wear strong shoes and take a torch to use inside the cave. Once you’ve climbed steeply up 20m of rock face you’ll see a narrow ledge; turn left and edge carefully along until you see a long slit in the rock which leads into a cave – you’ll need to be fairly thin to negotiate this. The inside of the cave is enormous, 60m long and 30m high in places, and well lit by sunlight from holes above. The main cave leads to lesser ones, which have rock formations jutting out from the walls and ceilings. The only way out is by the same route, which you’ll need to take very carefully, especially the near-vertical descent off the ledge and back down to the kampung.”


  5. Malcolm Taylor on 18 Jun 2014 at 0422 #

    Fantastic pictures. I have very fond memories of Gua Musang from my visit there in 1955. Of course it looked nothing like it does today – merely a single street lined with wooden houses and a couple of shops. The only access at that time was by rail so I remember the railway station well. You may wonder what I was doing there…a Whirlwind helicopter of the Royal Air Force had made a forced landing just outside the village. I went in to recover it and loaded it onto a railway freight car.
    I clearly remember the villagers being particularly welcoming, even a little dog that adopted us.
    Happy memories and my best wishes to the people of Gua Musang.

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