For local railway fans, Tumpat is as famous as the big KTM stations at Singapore Tanjung Pagar, Kuala Lumpur and Gemas. Tumpat is literally the end of the line for the rail track from Gemas to Kelantan. On 04/04/09, I made my maiden visit to the Tumpat Station.
The facade of the Tumpat Station is as sterile as all the other ‘new’ KTM stations. But the original station was founded in 1914, so it has deep historical significance.
Enter the platform and one sees the end of the East Coast Line, literally, a fair distance away.
The longish platform accommodates intercity trains heading for Kuala Lumpur Sentral and Singapore Tg Pagar.
At the end of the platform, steps lead down to the tracks.
A path made of neatly arranged disused wooden sleepers finds its way past the buffer stops marking the end of the East Coast Line.
Next to a lone rusty boxcar, a train is being prepared for the 6.30pm departure to Kuala Lumpur, a 13-hr journey.
Another view of the yard, and I wonder what those stacked short rails are for.
The End of the Line. From this spot to Gemas – some 530km down the metal path – the line is nicked the ‘Jungle Railway’, opened in 1931. From Gemas, Singapore is a further 220km south and Kuala Lumpur 175km the other direction.
Under a tree in the hot tropical sun, a lonesome rusty boxcar reminisces the good old days.
Past the tracks, we come face to face with some real gems!
A preserved ancient crane …
… and a little lighthouse of a bygone era, 23m high, built before World War II. Apparently KTM managed this lighthouse which guided vessels plying the treacherous sea just 150m away beyond the station perimeter and the village houses.
The crane is a magnificent beast.
Born in Carlisle, England, in 1950 …
… though this bit says ‘1949’.
Anyway this 60-year-old contraption is impressive.
Big metal tablets stuck to the crane’s body are full of important reminders.
In the shadow of the giant crane, a rolling stock sits humbly. [My friend Azmal tells me this is Plymouth Shunter. Thanks, bro!]
Inside one, I find another huge intriguing machine.
There’s an ominous sign on its side: ‘Rescue Tumpat’. For use when there is a derailment? To lift the rolling stocks?
Back at the main platform, the 6.30pm train to KL slowly reverses to park for passengers to board.
As the train slowly glides past, a crew talks to the locomotive pushing it.
Enough of trains, we head to the well-regarded Pantai Sri Tujuh nearby.
At a cosy spot we order an early dinner.
They say there are 7 lagoons here (whence ‘Pantai Sri Tujuh’), so maybe when I’m bored I’ll try to count them via Google Earth.
As the sun sets, we end our Tumpat outing at the beach, where hardcore fishos try their luck at the South China Sea. By the way, there’s Thailand territory over there, less than 5km away.
> THE END
I just realised I have some pics of another well-known train station, just 10km down the line from Tumpat. It’s PALEKBANG, dateline 4 Apr 2009.
But alas, Palekbang is no more! What a let-down.
This is what is left of Palekbang Station now. Come to think of it, in the heydays this is *the* station for Kota Bharu, the capital of Kelantan.
Back then train passengers checked in in Kota Bharu, at the Kelantan river bank, before boarding a special boat to cross the 800m-wide river to Palekbang. That’d have been fun, a boat ride thrown in.
Even the Police Station next to it has been modernised.
The lonesome track towards Wakaf Bharu must have seen better days.
Anyway the ruin is still government property, but what a pity, another historic station just vanished!
> THE END
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