There were some occasions when my cousins and I walked from Eng Hoon Street in Tiong Bharu Estate to Kg. Bahru Road to see the trains. You could sense that I was the “Indian Chief” leading his braves on this adventure trip. We took a short-cut through the football pitch of the Singapore General Hospital, near the Macalister Flats. I believe the football pitch has one-half still on the grounds of the hospital but the other half is now the CTE.
Walking around the railway-yard we saw the locomotive/carriage sheds and several housing blocks.
In the railway-yard, we found the coach livery painted in dual colours - the top was beige and bottom was brown - with the familiar “Harimau” (tiger) corporate logo of Malayan Railway. However we did not see workers working because it was past 5 pm.
Some housing blocks looked neat with private gardens on the ground floor and tall chimneys. They were occupied by Malay families. Housing blocks nearer to Blair Road were occupied by male Indian collies.
The Federated Malay States Railway (FMSR) management built the 2 and 3-storey housing blocks for the staff. Each building was unique because it had the name of the different states of Malaya. The buildings were later demolished around 1983. Replacing the housing blocks are now the empty concrete ground facing Godown # 2, Godown #2 facing Spooner Road, and the HDB-designed Blocks 1 & 2.
Will these buildings be retained to capture the aura of a former railway station? Will they have to go because the future concept plan calls for an optimum mix of prime office space and high-end hotel rooms that can synergise with the commercial, convention and hotel clusters at the future Tanjong Pagar waterfront?