Here In My Home - Malaysian Artistes For Unity

Monday, 19 November 2007

Heritage Station Preserved

I was in the old Kuala Lumpur Railway Station this morning as an appointment I had across the street was postponed for an hour. Thus I took the opportunity to revisit the station to see if memories of time passed can be invoked, as the rail service was an important transport for my family commuting between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur, more frequently when my father had to have his regular check-ups to the Kuala Lumpur Hospital at the time till it ended a few years before his death in 1992. The first thing that brought back memories was the pedestrian tunnel crossing the road. Look up and I assure you that you will see something that no longer can be seen at other local tunnels, that is wood panelled roofing. I am happy that this feature has been maintained despite the obvious high costs that can be associated with its maintenance. Reaching the station proper, the vehicle lane in front of the building is no longer as busy with waiting cars crowding the waiting area that used to rival those at present day KLIA. Nowadays there is only a solitary van belonging to the Heritage Hotel parked in front as the small car park to the side of the building can now easily accommodate the cars that may want to park there, presumably for the Komuter train service or Plusliner bus service as there is now ample free parking elsewhere in the vicinity.

I am also happy to note that Heritage Station Hotel itself has maintained the atmosphere of the old station hotel, right down to the rickety old elevator. It does transport me back to the times we used to stay there, not only for the convenience but economical lodgings. The bar/restaurant looks positively ancient still, and I imagine at nights the drinking kakis still populate the watering hole with the ghosts of old times. At the passenger concourse, there are no longer any ticketing booths of old. These have been moved to the KTMB headquarters building, another old building that should be visited and this would give you a good excuse to do so. In its stead there is now an art gallery with a resident artist for caricature paintings, a mini KTMB museum where you can see some old railway equipments and memorabilia, while the annexe building fronting Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin now house the Plusliner and NICE transit lounge and bus station, The Malaysian Railway Fan Clubhouse and some boutiques and galleries.

You now also have free access to the platforms as only the centre platform is currently is now used for the Komuter service with the end of the portion off. On that platform there are three displays of old railway machines and a fire truck in addition to the Komuter ticketing machines. Since the overall fa├žade and atmosphere of old still remains, you can still reimagine the past to relive your memories. Keep also a look out for old equipment like old time ticketing machines that have not been removed from their old positions, and the building can be considered a living museum. However there no longer exists the old Ramly burger and Roti John stalls, which I can attest were the best in KL, and the platform is now spick and span but I suspect at nights the area beside the hotel restaurant is being used as an extra dining area. I like the fact that exit to Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin makes you pass the mini museum, so you will not miss this attraction.

Finally if you have time, make sure you eat at the old Mamak stall at the end of station, which is actually one of the hotel’s dining outlets, where I was surprised that they serve old style roti canai with real parpu gravy. All in all, it was a good break while waiting for the appointment as it enabled me to revisit a national monument that would otherwise remain one of the buildings that you just pass by in your daily travels. Now if someone could turn the old Majestic Hotel building that used to house our National Gallery from its current sorry state to another heritage hotel, and two of my old lodgings would be preserved as old grand buildings, a fate they surely deserve.

3 comments:

Kranjibabe said...

I have the opportunity of stayin' at this grand old hotel from 14 to 17 Dec 2007 with my 4-members family from Spore. We stayed at the family Room where there were 3-queen size beds waitin' for us. Overall I like the colonial feeling that no other hotels in KL can offer me. Only sad that I think the hotel needs to be refurbished and renovate.

n.o.y.a said...

hi there. i found ur blog by accident while searching for pictures of the Heritage Hotel.

i stayed in the hotel for one night. but it was one scary experience for me and my mom, which i want to write in my blog.

since i don't have the opportunity to take any pictures, i would like to ask ur permission to use some of ur pictures in my blog. if it is okay with you...

i'll be waiting for your reply. ^^

mumuchi said...

carry on n.o.y.a...photos are from the public domain :>)