Preservation of historic Tanjong Pagar Railway Station underway

SINGAPORE: Efforts to preserve the platform canopy of the former Tanjong Pagar Railway Station are underway, and it will look as good as new when it is integrated with part of Cantonment MRT station – one of the three remaining stations to be built on the Circle Line.

The Land Transport Authority’s (LTA) preservation effort involved cutting 580m of the platform into 63 equal segments and transporting them to a former stabling yard for the old railway just 500m away.

Physically moving them away protects the platform canopy from the digging and construction works required for the underground Circle Line and Cantonment MRT station.

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station 2

About 580m of the platform were moved to this old stabling yard for cleaning and restoration. (Photo: Gwyneth Teo)

Special care was taken with the ornamental fascia fins, an iconic part of the platform’s design. 

Fins at the corners of the segmented platform were removed in order to prevent them from weakening and falling during transportation.

Re-location of the canopy was completed last November.

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station restoration 3

A removed ornamental fascia fin, labelled and recorded to facilitate replacement. (Photo: Gwyneth Teo)

When Cantonment MRT station is completed in 2025, the platform segments of the old railway station will be reinstated. Part of the platform will be integrated with a future MRT entrance along Keppel Road.

During a tour of the preservation efforts on Thursday (Mar 29) morning, LTA’s Deputy Director of Rail Expansion, Mr Lim Kian Peng, explained that the next phase for the old platform is the restoration process. 

This involves cleaning away the surface grime and stains with a high-pressure water jet and treating the plaster chemically to restore the original look of the building.

It will take place over the next five years, as trials for cleaning and treatment have only just begun.

When the restoration is completed, the platform will look as it did when the railway station was first built 86 years ago in 1932.

The contract for the entire relocation, restoration and reinstatement of the old railway platform was awarded at S$33.5 million and is scheduled to take eight years.

Other elements of the old platform that will be preserved include the Shanghai plaster on the columns and beams, a feature of the Art Deco period, as well as the colonial-era cast iron rainwater pipes.

The railway station was the southern terminus of Malaysian rail operator Keretapi Tanah Melayu, or KTM.

The first 80m of each platform and the main building with its iconic frontispiece were gazetted as a national monument in April 2011, and will not be part of Cantonment MRT station.

Tanjong Pagar Railway Station restoration 4

Cleaning and treatment being tested on a segment of the platform canopy before it will be applied to the rest. (Photo: Gwyneth Teo)

Cleaning will be conducted in situ for the gazetted part of the platform to restore it to its original condition. The Singapore Land Authority will also be refurbishing the main passenger lobby of the old terminus. 

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