Correspondent Report From Malaysia
the Malaysian Railway
Moorish-style Kuala Lumpur Railway Station at Jalan Sultan
Hishamuddin has a new attraction—the
KTM Berhad Mini Museum. The museum is small and its caretaker
Kamalul Mohd said it showcases only 25 per cent of the items
KTM Berhad has gathered for the project. However, there are
enough displays to get one acquainted with the history of the
Malayan Railway since the first railway line was set up in
Taiping in 1885.
Most of the
displays are tastefully arranged in glass cabinets while giant
lamps and headlights are placed on the floor. At the door, one
is greeted by a, 1 1/2m-tall grandfather clock from the 1920s
bearing the stamp of the Federated Malay States Railways.
Beyond that is the old Malayan rail era with all its facets—uniforms,
lamps of all shapes, headlights, staff record books,
typewriters, calculators and even a telegraph message code
book from 1949. Because the history of Malayan Railway spans
over 120 years, from coal to steam, diesel and electric
one will also see the development of office gadgets such as
weighing machines, typewriters and calculators over the same
period and how these have morphed from bulky machines to
smaller, more advanced equipment of today.
A range of fans
is also exhibited and this includes simple gadgets as well as
more aesthetic fans used in the first class cabins.
in uniforms will be able to see a full range of these from the
light green porter's uniform with plastic buttons in the 1907
to the more elaborate 1980s version with the Malaysian emblem
and gold buttons. There are also guard uniforms used between
the 1950s and the 1960s as well as the station master's
uniform between 1907 and 1940.
There are old
train tickets on display too. These were used at various
periods of rail operations and were manually stamped, showing
dates and time of travel.
signal flags and bells used over the years are another
interesting exhibit. Except for real train tracks, almost
every little object used in trains or the station can be seen
crockery and lighting and a punch card machine used between
1930 and 1980.
find is a first-aid kit from 1970—1990,
a woven bamboo basket the size of a standard luggage bag.
According to the label, it was used at the Brickfields and
Sentul train stations.
There are also
many black and white pictures of historical significance
including those of the wooden track from Gunung Pulai to Johor
Baru taken in 1869, the first railway line in Taiping and the
railway head office in Kuala Lumpur in 1895. One is surprised
to learn that many items such as plaques and signs used at the
old railway stations were assembled or even made at the old
rail workshop in Sentul, where the Kuala Lumpur Performance
Arts Centre is now located.
museum is displayed a large model train station and the
immediate outlying areas including shops and office blocks.
interesting items here are old sewing machines used to repair
seat cushions, various train coaches and the Happers Key (the
principal key used between 1885 and 1980 to start a train and
to signal to the next station of its movement.
Just outside the
museum, a short film on the history of the Malayan Railway is
shown on a television set throughout the day. The KTM Bhd mini
museum is open daily from 9am to 6pm.
Islamic Arts Museum