All good things must come to an end. After the station sent off her last train on 30 June and the crowd dispersed, albeit reluctantly, the government machinery moved in, stealthily, while the whole world was asleep and did the inevitable. When Peter Chan, guest blogger on GMY visited the station on the morning of July 1, the deed was done ... with surprising efficiency.
Curious on the fate of the station now that ownership has changed hands, I paid the grand dame a visit few hours later, during my lunch time, with a little hope there would be a way for me to sneak in innocently and roam freely inside the compound before our government digs in.
Guards were posted and from their uniform, I found out security was outsourced to AETOS Security Management. From Wikipedia, I learnt that AETOS is a wholly owned subsidiary of Temasek Holdings and was the result of the strategic merger of the auxiliary police forces of PSA, ST Kinetics and CIAS. With their years of experience guarding our port and airport, what's a railway station to them?
Testimony to the professionalism of the folks who locked up the place, all access to the compound, whether from Keppel or Kampong Bahru side, was sealed off. Guards were posted at the platform and I read those who thought the rail corridor (free access this month) includes the station were greatly mistaken. However high security does not mean high literacy, as I found out from one side entrance at Blair Road. Where there was no gate, a temporary one was put in place. Where even a temporary gate was not possible, the opening was simply boarded up.
This narrow entrance from Kampong Bahru side was boarded up.
These measures were to be expected. After all the crowd was quite ravenous on Thursday and I heard looting at the station almost took place. Some people were looking for war spoils and I suspect a few actually went away with them. About the only relic that could not possibly be looted was the big blue signboard outside the station, thus it was left unguarded. Would this historical signboard be part of the national monument, I wonder.
The walk along Keppel Road was a little heart wrenching, seeing sparks from acetylene torch like firework illuminate the platform; every now and then a loud thud sound made my heart skip a beat. Few days ago at this hour, there was still the Ekspres Sinaran Selatan waiting at this platform. 12 hours after the last train from Tanjong Pagar left Singapore for Johor, I saw workers dismantling the partition fence on the platform. The loud thud happened when the workers allowed the partition to fall unassisted. The partitions were then stacked up nicely and ferried away by forklift. Where will they land up?
Acetylene torch does its job. The dismantling and loud thud had this piercing effect, like what this fence did to the trunk along Keppel Road.
It has started. Bit by bit, Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is being destroyed. How will it look like when it finally become a national monument?