A Ghost Station For A Ghost Train?

The permanently-closed ticketing counter at the Behrang Train Station is plastered with newspaper cuttings. A collection of morbid news on fatal accidents and suicides involving people on the railway track. It is to serve as a warning, perhaps. For there is open access to the platform and track.

The silence and emptiness is strangely attractive. It was as though me and my new friend, the invigorated cat, own the station. We wandered on the platform, looked at the tracks up-close, sat on a steel bench and waited for the train that never came.

I found out later from local residents that in spite the solitude, the station is functioning. One can still hop on a train from here, I was told. Provided someone on board is getting down, the train will stop.

The info left me with more questions. How does one disembark at the destination when boarding without a ticket? How would they know which station you board from?

How does a passenger from inside stop the speeding train in order to get down. Is there a bell button to push like buses of old days? From the platform, can I flag it to stop?

This is a nice and well-equipped modern train station, mind you. It is sad and surprising to see it so under-utilised. To the town’s credit, it isn’t vandalised at all. It also makes sense to not waste money on staff when there are hardly any passenger.

I don’t know. When it comes to train stations in small towns, the old adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it or re-locate it” applies, sometimes.

Maybe this is the reason it was chosen as the location to scrap the phased-out trains. No one comes here. I am glad I did.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 400, f13, 1/60 sec.

Only The Lonely

Behrang train station is strangely deserted. There is not a single person around. No passengers, no workers, not even a guard in sight.

Only soul that greeted me was one very lonely cat. A very skinny and young cat at that. Poor stray (probably dumped here) must be wondering why there are no humans to give it food. Or why it is so hard to find leftovers.

I usually carry a bag of dog food and another bag of cat food in my car. Many strays will not eat kibbles though. Luckily, I also have Whiskas wet food packs.

Need to relocate the animal after feeding or talk to the the Indonesian wrecking crew nearby. Hope I can persuade one of the guys to give it regular food.

More on the station next.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 800, f13, 1/80 sec.

Tanjung Malim Train Station

A very big station was built as part of the electrified double-tracking rail project. The new railway station and the accompanying road re-alignment and flyover were to change the face of Tanjung Malim town forever.

Amazingly, the sheltered platform is about 500 meters long. Currently there are only a handful of passengers, even during rush hour. Talk about optimism or building for the future.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 250, f4, 1/250 sec.

Missing The Train

Homage to the music video and song (If Only I Could) Turn Back Time by Aqua. It was the Danish-Norwegian eurodance group’s only slow-paced song. Nevertheless, it showcased the vocal prowess of Lene Nystrøm Rasted .

It was also the soundtrack of the 1998 film ‘Sliding Doors’ with similar visual treatment. The twin-universe romcom was about the consequence of Gwyneth Paltrow’s character missing the train.

Photographed at the Tanjung Malim train station.

Sony Alpha a7R, ISO 100, f4, 1/10 sec.