Malaysia > Perak > Tapah Road Train Station

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Thursday, 23rd April 2009

Today I found myself passing through Tapah (Perak), and naturally I just had to check the train station out. This is another of my sentimental stations, as in the 70s I went to a school in Kuala Kangsar, and for school holidays, our mode of transport home was the train. In those days, Tapah Road was an important junction because here a line from Teluk Intan (then ‘Telok Anson’, a major port during the British Empire days) met the main KL-Ipoh line. Unfortunately this major Teluk Intan line, completed in 1893, is now no longer around, even most of the rails have been stripped off.

Location: HERE

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Tapah Road is literally a one-street town just off the state route A10 leading westwards out of Tapah proper. At the far end, this single main road ends at the train station.
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Well, a T-junction really, to the left the road is a narrow lane ending at a village, while to the right into the car park of the new station. Next to the junction, the staff quarters in the familiar old cream-and-brown colours are most welcoming.
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Right in front of me, the old station! I can’t believe it, the poor thing has not been demolished like its contemporaries elsewhere?
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I duly park my car, and yes, there it is – the old station, almost being nudged by the huge platform of the brand new complex.
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Looks dilapidated, but obviously still in decent shape. With memories of my ’70s train journeys still fresh, I just have to explore.
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The familiar signs are still there, on the platform side, but the old platform itself has been consumed by the humongous new one on the right. By the way ‘MUJ T. ROAD’ means ‘Merinyu Urus Jalan Tapah Road’, a sort of rail-track maintenance inspector.
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I am thrilled to bits – an old station still in full glory, well almost. I just love the cream-brown theme!
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Built in the 1880s, Tapah Road was a key gateway for goods and people going to and coming from the then major port of Telok Anson, and for visitors going to the Cameron Highlands – both important to the British colonialists. I walk along the main corridor, imagining the right side of this photo fronting the busy main road, with people streaming in and out of the station.
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Step into the station from the road, one would see the ticket counter to the left. Straight ahead, the platform, obviously now gone.
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I look left at the rest of the station. The design is similar to other major stations of that era. There’s an open space over there, a sort of concourse where probably a food stall was operating, but now a storage for cable drums.
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I inadvertently disturb a napping resident among the drums.
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At the southern end of the station, another ‘room’, probably a store.
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On the floor, among the junks, a couple of signboards. Note the confused spelling and grammar.
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The exterior of the station shows a typical station of the old days, …
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… wooden, cream-and-brown, and the familiar grilles protecting the windows.
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Done with the old, on with the new … the gleaming brand new Tapah Road Station.
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Climb up the stairs at the grand entrance, there’s the ticket office to the left, and an eatery – not yet opened – to the right, the platforms straight ahead.
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Get your tickets here. Once regular commuter service between Ipoh and KL commences (soon?), this is gonna be one busy spot.
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But please observe the house rules first.
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Beautifully done, I must admit, and the power cables are already energised, ready to drive fast electric trains between Ipoh and KL.
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Platform 1 here, for southbound traffic, …
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… and Platform 2 over there. Access to Platform 2 is via a bridge from Platform 1.
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Looking north, the station feels airy and comfortable, with pretty good ambience. I’m impressed. The beginning of a new era of Malaysian train travel?Image

I take one final look at the handsome 1m-gauge double tracks in the afternoon sun.
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Walking along the inner corridor behind the main platform, this looks to be one pleasant station.
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So it’s not surprising that it has won a major award.
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The wall of the station master’s office is a treasure trove of information, especially of locomotives of yore.
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I recognise the ’38 steam engine. I think it was still operating in the late ’60s when I first had my train ride, from Krai to Lipis – the Jungle Railway. Noisy, smokey, pitch black and hissingly terrifying to a small kid like me, and in a tunnel be prepared to have soot on your face and in your hair. :D
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More old train info, and a whiteboard shows currently operating trains’ configurations. Note the smokey locomotives in the sketches – old habits die hard.
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I exit the new train station and at the southern end, where the old station is, I notice a white brick tower.
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Obviously being preserved, this could be the water tower to feed the steam engines in the old days.
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I peer inside the structure, and note the whitish top part of the tower. I suspect there used to be a water tank up there. The pipes from the tank would exit the holes to the serve the steam locomotives.
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I leave Tapah Road Station and take the new stretch of route A10, which totally bypasses Tapah Road as it heads west. The road passes above the train yard, where it’s a huge 4-lane bridge. I pause to take a look.
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Looking south, the five tracks converge into two. I try to identify the junction of the defunct line heading for Teluk Intan.
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There it is, but alas, no more rails, just some clearing to tell me where the old Teluk Intan line used to be. The Junction, no more.Image

The tracks look lonely now, but soon expect some 32 shuttle trips per day plying the KL-Ipoh route, in addition to other trains. With speed of up to 140km/h, it’s only 2hrs 15mins to do the journey. Bus operators better be afraid.
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To the left of the yard, I see what seems to be an abandoned kampung, which must have witnessed the history of Tapah Road Station itself.
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I cross the 4-lane road to the other side to gaze at the huge new station.
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Look closer, and you can see the old station, with its rusty zinc roof, facing the junction of the old road. What a long way Tapah Road Station has come. It’s a metamorphosis, indeed. The good news is, together with the old stations of Batu Gajah and Tanjung Malim, they have been slated to be turned into museums. 😀
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With the hot sun baking my backside, I escape into the comfort of the car and head for Pasir Salak, 40km away, the subject of my next tale. img_4792

> THE END

14 responses so far

14 Responses to “Malaysia > Perak > Tapah Road Train Station”

  1. Danon 29 May 2009 at 1636

    Just would like to say I enjoy reading stuffs from your site from time to time …. they are always interesting and different. ….

    Dan – Penang

  2. ismadion 09 Dec 2009 at 1109

    Saya terharu tengok gambar2 lama station tapah road. Bapa saya pernah jadi station master di situ – saya di tapah raod dari tahun 1987 – 2002. pekan kecil yang cukup segalanya – seronok duduk di sana – kini tinggal kenangan

  3. faizalon 20 May 2010 at 1629

    Tapah Road ialah kampung saya. sapa org2 Tapah Road mesti ingat nama Mat Rock aka Dedo , Nan Rock, Din Nyamuk, Mail Kerbau, Mundu dan ramai lagi..!.. 🙂

  4. ramanion 19 Aug 2010 at 1921

    Hi, I am an artist ( a painter) . I have an illusion to paint all the Rail Engine’s that have been used in Malaysia , where can i see the engine’s that have been stored .? Please get back to me on this , as i could like to pay a visit.

  5. A Ongon 29 Sep 2010 at 0018

    Must pay homage to a HISTORICAL RELIC there some fine day!

  6. Rampalaon 04 Feb 2011 at 2231

    Dad was a railwayman…my soul always is always with the rolling stock although i choose a diff field
    I still enjoy train ride
    Awaiting for a try with KL – Ipoh Route

  7. Aruon 03 Sep 2011 at 0520

    Can’t forget Tapah Road. My father once owned the first shop house near the police station at that time. He took LLN ( TNB) loan at that time and constructed the old wooden shophouse into a brand new one. We had the first house warming ceremony in the year 1989. My uncle took care of the shop at that time. We sold off the shop in the year 1996. One thing I can’t forget about Tapah Road was the breakfast menu. Its best place to eat ‘Putu” and “Appam”.

  8. naimon 05 Sep 2011 at 1226

    Thanks for the tip — putu and appam sound cool. 🙂

  9. ijaion 16 Nov 2011 at 2339

    thank for the photo …i also enjoyed and di besokan at that town…. i leaved from tapah road year 1990an, after 15 yrs i back to tapah town n wrkig in th govmnt sector…i fill grd full stay in tapah or tapah raod area wtc harmony n i loved it…tq bro

  10. Raymond Pearceon 18 Mar 2013 at 0134

    I was a young British soldier in 1954 when I was posted from Kuala Lumpur to Tapah. I recall arriving at Tapah Road station inAugust 1954. I was met by a military vehicle and taken to Temoh Hill camp Tapah attached to 4th Bn. Malay Regiment.I had to go to Ipoh every two weeks to draw my pay. The road went through Kampar.I was very happy there and letters I sent home to my parents in England reflect this.I can still remember Malay phrases I used at that time. I am now nearly 80 but maintain the 16 months I spent in what was then Malaya were some of the happiest of my life.Terima kaseh banya.Nanti sini , berhenti sini, jalan truce, Pusing kiri, pusing kanan, for yellow top taxis in Kuala Lumpur.Raymond Pearce

  11. Mike Whitleyon 13 Apr 2013 at 1232

    I was a serviceman in the British Army based in Singapore 1969 to 1971 and had a few ocassions to travel on the railway on my way to the Cameron Highlands. We got off at Tapah Road it was very ‘old hat’ in those days as was the rolling stock. It is great to see the old against the new, what progress!
    regards Mike

  12. Rodziah Md. Yusufon 16 May 2013 at 2301

    Kenangan di rumah kuartes area loko tapah road. Kedai Panjang dah jadi jalan raya. Kedai lamtun dulu bila balik sekolah beli gula-gula, asam boi, Aci jual kacang parang sebelah sekolah dan makan apam manis, kacang putih kat setesen keretapi tapah road, sudah berubah. Keluar dari Tapah Road tahun 1975 usia 17 tahun. Depan sekolah menengah tapah road dulu hutan kini sudah ada taman perumahan. Stesen pun dah berubah wajah. Usia sekarang 55 tahun 2013 kalau ada peluang nak singah melawat lepas turun dari Cameron Highland.

  13. iDeckon 06 Aug 2013 at 1828

    Great info…..thx 😉

  14. Limon 23 Nov 2013 at 2148

    I was born in Tapah Road 1962, thank you for the photos that will always keep Tapah Road Railway Station a place to be always remembered. Nowadays, less and less people appreciate the past .

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