I’ve only taken train rides from the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station twice and both times, it’s a deliberate choice over the other modes of transport because I wanted to experience how it was like to take the KTM trains into Malaysia.
I recalled that the railway station wasn’t as crowded or vibrant as the other stations that I have been to in other countries. There weren’t many locals and most of them were made up of Malaysian passengers. There weren’t many train services available and thus it was a hassle-free experience travelling up north.
Photo courtesy of Malvina Tan
Unfortunately, railway operations at the station ceased from 1 July 2011 and the station became a national monument of Singapore and is only open to the public on public holidays in the hope that more people will use the opportunity to visit the historical monument for strolls, take photos or to partake in its history.
Now, for a limited period (17 June through 4 July 2015), the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is open to the public as one of the O.P.E.N.‘s Augmented Reality Memory Tour Project which provides visitors the opportunity to experience a unique and interactive memory tour of the station.
15 Stations, as it is called, allows visitors to meet the people – from the past and the future – whose lives were connected by the railway line through a downloadable application on their smartphones. There are three curated routes – Reflect, Connect and Imagine – and they draw on archival materials and animation to weave their own stories about the relationship between the station and those who have passed and will pass through its doors.
Our family turned up at 7pm and we started off at Route #1 with the PROLOGUE, along with 5 other stations.
Some of the videos at the stations come with audio so visitors are advised to bring along their earphones. Take your time to slowly wander, view the videos, reflect upon what was shared and connect with the people and stories in the videos. On top of that, enjoy the architecture of the building which is in a richly ornamented Art Deco style. The exterior of the building, for infomation’s sake, are four marble statues, allegories of Agriculture, Industry, Commerce and Transport.
You might think these visitors were all taking pictures of the ticket counters but nope, they were actually viewing and listening to the videos. At this point, my girl was getting restless and started to tour the main hall. How I wish she was older so that we could learn and share historical facts together.
So, she might not be able to fully appreciate the exhibition but we sure could create some wonderful memories of the place as a family!
We proceeded to Route #2 (my favourite) where five stories would emerge from scanning the different QR codes displayed on the stands. At this point, the little girl got a tad interested in the stories and listened to them intently.
But her attention span was just too short and minutes later, she went to disturb her Papa and they went onto the tracks for some fun while I stayed on at the departure platform to complete the stories.
F was excited to be walking on the tracks but she saw no trains!
Route #3 consists of three stations which envision a future created by NTU students who never had the chance to set foot in the station during its heyday.
Each memory route is in English and takes about 30 minutes and in all, one would spend about 90 minutes at the railway station. The O.P.E.N. will provide 30 sets of Samsung Note 4 and 20 sets of Samsung Tab S, with earphones, on site. Alternatively, you may want to download the 15 Stations app (downloadable for free from 16 June to 4 July 2015) on your smartphones and enjoy the audio commentary with your personal earphones.
I must say it’s quite a unique experience learning more about The Tanjong Pagar Railway Station through this augmented reality memory tour. I only wish that we had visited it in the day time so that we could have more beautiful pictures! Oh well…
15 Stations (The O.P.E.N.’s Augmented Reality Memory Tour Project)
Tanjong Pagar Railway Station
Opens 18 June through 4 July 2015
Tue-Sat: 12 noon – 10pm
Sun: 12 noon – 6pm
FREE ADMISSION with O.P.E.N. Pass
Limited single entry tickets ($11 each) are available at the door
Disclaimer: Our family was invited to tour 15 Stations. No monetary compensation was given.