In this second part, Faris Mokhtar and Jeanette Tan hop onto an afternoon train from Tanjong Pagar and take a short trip to Johor Bahru, speaking to passengers and staff who work on the train.
For some, it was a near daily routine.
But for others, it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. Make that the first, and probably last, time they were able to experience a train ride from the Tanjong Pagar KTM railway station.
Last Saturday afternoon, the Yahoo! Singapore news crew took one of the last rides ever from the station to capture and speak to fellow passengers eager to share their memories and experiences riding from Singapore to Johor Bahru.
Our train was scheduled to depart at 1pm. By 12pm, hordes of excited passengers -- mostly Singaporeans -- were waiting by the entry gate to reach the platform station.
The crowds surged forward as the gates opened, and it was somewhat surreal to see no high-technology machines in place. Instead, tickets were clipped manually by KTM staff.
Although clearing immigration was a breeze, it was an interesting experience for some, to have their passports stamped by the Malaysian immigration even before they had left Singapore.
"It was slightly bizarre for me," said 22-year-old Hadi Ahmad. "Because if you usually go to Johor by car or bus, the Malaysian customs will only chop your passport once you reached there.
"But here, we haven't even left Singapore, yet technically you have entered Malaysia. So this is truly a first for me," the undergraduate said, laughing.
As passengers started to board the train, many grabbed the chance to take photos with their family members.
We chanced upon Roslan Mohd Nor, 47, who happened to be our train driver -- telling us that this would be his last time entering Singapore -- at least, via the same route.
Spending half of his adult life serving KTM as one of its staff, Roslan landed the driver's seat seven years after he first joined the company in 1986.
"I was of course sad that they will be stopping the train service to Tanjong Pagar because I have been to Singapore as a train driver for 18 years.
"And this is the last day that I enter Singapore, so it will be a memory that I will never forget," he told Yahoo! Singapore.
As the train pulled out of the station at approximately 1.15pm, some passengers walked along the train aisles, "getting a feel" of the train, while others, cameras in hand, stood at the doorways to snap pictures.
Banker Nor Liza, 26, was taking the train with her friends to Segamat, a town in Johor Bahru.
"I think it's quite interesting, though nothing much of a view," she said, laughing.
"But at least you are able to see, get a feel of it. It's my first time taking the train, and I recall the last time I took the train was with my mum when I was young, so I can't remember how it felt like, you know?"
Others shared similar sentiments — many citing the wish to relive the nostalgia felt when they first boarded the train decades ago.
Financial consultant Radhesh, 31, was one of them, "This is the first time I'm on the train since how many years ago, maybe when I was still a small boy."
"Back then, it wasn't air-conditioned. We took the overnight train, there were bunk beds and it was much more cramped. But right now, it's very comfortable," he added.
The year was 1979 when retiree Siti Rahimah experienced her first train ride.
"When I heard Tanjong Pagar (station) is going to close, we booked the ticket, also because my family wants to celebrate my birthday in KL, then why not we take the train?" she said.
It was a heart-wrenching conversation as the 59-year-old went on to share that being a cancer patient already in the advanced stages, she was spurred to travel by train before it closed.
When asked what the experience was like, she said, "I like it very much! So I am happy to take this train, you know."As the curtain comes down on Tanjong Pagar station, many experienced mixed feelings.
Some have lamented its loss, while many others called for it to be preserved and maintained, to remind future generations of a history which physically "linked both nations".
"I understand from the government perspective but it's going to be a major loss for Singapore history. That they'll be stopping it (train service) completely," said Radhesh.
"It's very nostalgic. I'm very attached to the railway and have been living in Spottiswoode Park all my life, so… it's just a feeling you get you know? You want to be on one of the last few trains before it ends."
"This building should be preserved by the Singapore government as a heritage centre for future generations in Singapore," said Roslan.
Now that he will no longer enter Singapore as a train driver, will he still travel to the country as a tourist?
"I will come to Singapore for sure. And to see whether the station is being maintained or not, I will make sure of that," he said, roaring into laughter.
For many, the train ride was nostalgic.
For first-timers like us, it was an unforgettable, and unrepeatable experience -- one that, from Thursday onwards, can only live on in our memories.
This article was written by Faris Mokhtar and video produced by Jeanette Tan.
Read the other two parts in this feature print & video series:
- The KTM Railway: Last Ride Out (Part 1)
- The KTM Railway: Last Ride Out (Part 3)
- In Pictures: The KTM Railway Station