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The 60s meets the future; Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, Malaysia

November 26, 2012

It took me rather a while wandering around the old KL railway station to find exactly where this picture was taken from due to two developments. The first is a flyover which has appeared in front of this entrance to the station and which I had to stand in the middle of, dodging traffic, in order to get the photo.

The second development is that at some time in the preceding 50 years, someone very clever has extended the building, but they’ve done it so subtly that without the photos you can’t tell what’s original and what’s new when you’re walking around it.

The front of the station and the bulk of the building is physically largely unchanged although the traffic around has gotten considerably more congested.

This main part of Kuala Lumpur railway station is actually no longer a train station since the grand opening of KL Sentral; the largest train station in South East Asia and new hub of Malaysian rail links. The old KL station is now largely the somewhat unsuccessful Heritage Hotel; which seems to be lacking a target audience (train-spotters and anoraks aside). The station is still too much of a commuter hub, still receiving inner-city trains, to make it a swanky hotel and yet the building is far too colonial and elegant to resign it to being a one-stop motel. Wandering around inside the station it has an air of great patience to it, the roof is high and vaulted like a cathedral and the platforms wide and elegant. The few inner-city trains that rumble through just seem to make it look more empty; like a school hall with only one child in it. KL Railway station has been waiting for a long time now, and I suspect shall wait a fair while longer, for someone to figure out what to do with the grand old building, besides give it a fresh lick of paint every so often.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 26, 2012 10:22 am

    What a pity that such a beautiful building should be in such a functional no-mans land. Your death defying exploits to get the picture from the flyover shows a very sad come down from what was. The other pictures have me completely confused as I can’t join the dots to work out what was original and what is an extension. I do hope that they find a way of valuing it and giving it a clear role /purpose in the future. It certainly deserves it.

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