Showing posts with label Boon Lay. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Boon Lay. Show all posts

Mar 6, 2009

From Boon Lay to Joo Koon: Games, Eye Candies and Oh, Where's my Goodie Bag?

Pioneer Station - To Joo Koon
While I enjoyed myself at the Open House as a non-paying passenger, that was not the purpose of my trip. A free train ride is nothing to shout about. My real purpose was to meet, for the first time, members from the forum and to score goodie bags from the Open House. Now, a goodie bag is something to shout about because you only get it during special occasions – like an Open House. I’m hoping I don’t sound cheapskate to you.

So call my mission Operation Goodie Bag(s). However I got more than what I bargained for, as you’d see….

Elders and their Goodie Bag
Alarm bells started ringing before the official opening at 11am. You see, we reached Pioneer Station before 11am to beat the crowd even though I didn’t expect much of a crowd. For goodness sake, this is not the Singapore Flyer where you camp overnight to get free tickets. So imagine my surprise when I saw people ………… walking about in the station!

Worse, there were people already leaving the station! Most of them were elderly folks. I’m guessing this must be some smart aleck’s idea to work with the various Residents’ Committee and Elderly Groups in the event the marketing campaign fails to attract visitors. It’s show time! Picture the scene where you have happy elderly citizens walking about when the guest-of-honour makes his appearance….

I applaud whoever’s idea for some elderly/retiree cohesion and Saturday morning workout. However, the decision to present the elderly with the much-sought-after goodie bag was a bad one. I thought I saw a SMRT memorabilia when some elderly aunties inspected the content in the bag (above picture). Bad choice. Bad bad choice. They probably dumped the content to the garang-guni a week after.

Approaching Station
When we finally travelled up the escalator, I realized we were not the early birds. There was already a crowd in front of us as well as in the station.

Fare Gate
There was a intimidating welcoming party (wearing LTA polo tees) behind the fare gates left open specially for the Open House. They were standing about bua long long chattering with one another. I’d prefer if they formed a line screaming and shaking their pom pom on my arrival - 欢迎欢迎, 热烈欢迎!

It was here that I met and shook MP for Pioneer Mr Cedric Foo’s hand. I think he looked a bit surprised when I addressed him Sir. If I’m not mistaken, he was the Minister of State for Defence before Assoc Prof Koo Tsai Kee. Old habits die hard when you were a conscript.

Station Escalator
The Open House was that because you were allowed to walk around and take pictures indiscriminately. It was also a mini fun fair. You have balloons. You have joy rides. Not to forget games.

Game booths were manned by LTA staff where for no fee, you could win fantastic prizes like a sticky pad. The games were pretty creative (and I mean this from the bottom of my heart). I’m not showing any pictures, see if you can visualize the game from its pithy description:
LTA Band Live Performance
Kudos to LTA for trying to create some ambience with their Live Performance Band available at Joo Koon Station only. A pity they had stopped playing when I was there. I guess the live entertainment was necessary to cheer the visitors up, who came from Pioneer Station and suddenly realized they were in the middle of nowhere. No visible entertainment or F&B outlet. Joo Koon, between PIE Pasir Laba Flyover and AYE Benoi Flyover, is an industrial area in Tuas.

Fare Gate
The people factor was what kept the Open House alive. I don’t mean the crowd but the eye candies. The above are eye candies staff from LTA at Pioneer Station.

At Joon Koon Station, I had a bigger catch surprise in the form of a TV reporter for Mediacorp’s Channel 5 and CNA. I don’t know her name. Anyone can recognize her?

Nice dress but I’m more interested in the paper under her feet. No, she wasn’t littering. The litter paper was her script. I’m not sure whether this is a common trick employed by reporters to hide their script.

I spent a fruitful Saturday morning at the stations – taking joy rides, watching the games but not playing them, shooting eye candies etc. But oh, where’s my goodie bag?

Goodie Bag Outside
Due to unfortunate circumstances, I did not get the official goodie bag with the SMRT memorabilia. Instead I got a paper goodie bag. Do you want to know its content?

Goodie Bag Gift
There was a LTA keychain that looked like excess inventory from HDB. So much for a SMRT memorabilia.

The Open House would be a laughing stock if the paper bag contained only the keychain. So to make the bag heavier they added something else….

Want to know what’s the additional object? Please don’t laugh when you see this.

Kudos to the organizers!

Feb 28, 2009

From Boon Lay to Joo Koon: Station Open House and the New End of the West Line

Pioneer Station - To Joo Koon
It must have been during the annual conscription gathering at Jurong West more than a year ago that I saw new MRT tracks after Boon Lay. For many years Boon Lay marked the western end of the East West Line. Opened in 1990, it was the last station to do so, but its status as the western terminus had since been etched in my memory.

Imagine my surprise when I came to know about the completion of the Boon Lay MRT Extension, starting with Open House at Pioneer and Joo Koon Stations on 21st February. Amongst other things, this means Boon Lay will relinquish its western terminus status. A new end of the west line is born.

At the invitation of azmee, I joined the guys in Singapore Railway Forum for the Open House at Pioneer.

Boon Lay MRT Station Notice Boon Lay MRT Station Platform

On station platform at Boon Lay, arrangements were made to facilitate the transition. From 15 Feb, passengers were not allowed to board the train at platform B. As the western terminal station (MRT lingo: withdrawal station), trains would stop at either platform and continue the journey back (eastwards), assuming they were not withdrawn from service. This would change with new stations after Boon Lay.

Pioneer MRT StationPioneer MRT Station

Pioneer MRT Station EntranceEntrance A

At Pioneer, I was surprised to see trains arriving at regular intervals. As it turned out, the trains first arrived at Boon Lay, passengers were evicted, and the empty trains continued their journey to Pioneer.

Open House BannerOpen House Banner at Entrance A

Open House BannerWell-Wishers from the Kopitiam

The Open House must be a darn solid affair. There were banners shouting “come and visit us” as well as a congratulatory banner from the kopitiam below the station that said, “Congratulations on the opening of the new Pioneer MRT Station”. This is so fake, what they mean is “Let’s congratulate ourselves for the good business in the days ahead”.

EW28 PioneerEW 28 Pioneer

Pioneer MRT Station PlatformPioneer MRT Station Platform

One of the highlights was the free train ride between Pioneer and Joo Koon. The fare gate was not in use. The empty trains from Boon Lay would pick up visitors at Pioneer and continued on to Joo Koon. That was my first time as a non-paying passenger.The MRT track was still in its pristine condition and it would be until somebody decided to soil it red with his blood. There is something distinctively different about the track at Pioneer, see if you can spot it (hint: colour).

Joo Koon MRT StationJoo Koon MRT Station

At Joo Koon - the new end of the west line – I alighted and found myself in a similar station like Pioneer but surrounded by factories. Pioneer is surrounded by flats. The contrast is striking.

Pioneer MRT Station Privacy MeasurePrivacy Measure at Pioneer

Indeed, the block outside the station is so near that a screen was constructed at the platform to stop prying eyes. There is a similar one at Marsiling MRT Station. It is ironic that the station was designed to provide “commuters with a panoramic view of the surrounding areas”.

Pioneer MRT Station Fire EscapeFire Escape Route

Security CamerasSecurity Cameras (left and right of entrance)

Pioneer MRT Station registered a few firsts in my mind. The escape route outside the station connects the platform to the ground floor. I don’t remember any station with such design. SMRT has also deployed an overwhelming number of security cameras outside the station entrance, a fact I still find amusing.

As you read this, the Boon Lay MRT Extension would have opened officially (official launch on 28 Feb). These few days, you may have noticed Boon Lay ‘disappearing’ from signs and notices. What was once Boon Lay is now Joo Koon – the new end of the west line.

There will be a change in the ‘train habit’ of commuters. To secure a seat, the more ‘kiasu’ folks from Boon Lay will take the train to Pioneer or even Joo Koon, so that they will be sitting comfortably when the train returns to Boon Lay. Woe to the folks from Lakeside who used to play the same trick.

The following SMRT map, taken during Open House, is antique now. Boon Lay has made way for Joo Koon, which is destined to escape the attention showered on her more ‘happening’ cousins like Pasir Ris, Marina View, Punggol and HarbourFront.

Boon Lay, Last Look
(Edit: Part 2 of the series - about games, babes and goodie bag - is up)