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Thread: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

  1. #1

    Default Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    I'm visiting Singapore this weekend, and being a bit of a 'train spotter' (Actually that's what I bought a good camera to do!). I was thinking of going out to the Bukit Timah station and photographing a train or two passing though the old station as pretty soon this will be a 'ghost station' with KTM trains cut back to Woodlands.
    I note there has been a thread about photographing the KTM railway here in the last few months.

    According to the Wikipedia the station is still used as a signal section with 'safeworking' tokens still exchanged with passing trains. Presumably there is still a KTM staff member working at the station when trains are running to facilitate this.
    (I'm very familiar with railway token systems and would love to see their safeworking procedure in action).

    So I have some questions - starting with how to get to the station, but mainly -
    How 'friendly' are the staff who work there. Will they tolerate a 'rail fan' photographing around their station, or will they 'chase me off' or call the local police ?.

    Presumably KTM sends staff down from Malaysia to 'operate' the station who are rotated through other jobs with the railway in the southern region. Even if they are friendly, what are their English language skills be like ?

    What are the train times on weekends ?. (Assuming I won't get arrested for entering KTM property 'armed with a camera'). The KTM timetable section of their web site isn't completely clear on the matter as the train times are on at least 4 different timetables as they are separate by their different routes in Malaysia.

    Seems a shame to close the line and rip it up for property development as it appears will happen. A group of SG locals need to get together and turn it into a tourist railway and preserve the stations with their original functions!. 'Stuffed and mounted' monuments that no longer have any connection with their original function are a bit sad to me.
    (Speaking as some one who volunteers their time on a 'heritage' railway in Sydney and is currently 'in training' to drive vintage trams on a museum tramway).

    So I'm very interested any advice people might have.

    And if there are any fellow clubsnap train 'nuts' to want to escort an Aussie around the KTM lines and know where you can go and where you can't, send me a message.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    The guard there will not allow u to shoot. Had tried but was asked go leave.

  3. #3
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    So far, as long as you don't enter the no-entry require-passport area, I think they are quite lenient. Definitely more friendly than some buildings I've tried taking where the guards come running out to chase you even though you're taking from the side of the road. A group of us set up tripods and such, no problem. Not sure why Nisa had problems.

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    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    I'm visiting Singapore this weekend, and being a bit of a 'train spotter' (Actually that's what I bought a good camera to do!). I was thinking of going out to the Bukit Timah station and photographing a train or two passing though the old station as pretty soon this will be a 'ghost station' with KTM trains cut back to Woodlands.
    I note there has been a thread about photographing the KTM railway here in the last few months.
    Welcome to Singapore

    According to the Wikipedia the station is still used as a signal section with 'safeworking' tokens still exchanged with passing trains. Presumably there is still a KTM staff member working at the station when trains are running to facilitate this.
    (I'm very familiar with railway token systems and would love to see their safeworking procedure in action).
    Yep its used as a signal station and trains are still operating daily and there will normally be 1 station staff working...

    So I have some questions - starting with how to get to the station, but mainly -
    How 'friendly' are the staff who work there. Will they tolerate a 'rail fan' photographing around their station, or will they 'chase me off' or call the local police ?.
    To get there,you can take bus 171(I presume you're coming from City area) and alight at King Albert Park along Bukit Timah Road.When you go up,greet him and try to strike a conversation with him...

    Presumably KTM sends staff down from Malaysia to 'operate' the station who are rotated through other jobs with the railway in the southern region. Even if they are friendly, what are their English language skills be like ?
    My group was there last week and the guy working was speaking english better than some in our group.

    What are the train times on weekends ?. (Assuming I won't get arrested for entering KTM property 'armed with a camera'). The KTM timetable section of their web site isn't completely clear on the matter as the train times are on at least 4 different timetables as they are separate by their different routes in Malaysia.
    As far as i know,it passes at 7.30-8am,12.45-1.15pm,4pm+ and 8pm+.Mail train would be around 2pm+

    Seems a shame to close the line and rip it up for property development as it appears will happen. A group of SG locals need to get together and turn it into a tourist railway and preserve the stations with their original functions!. 'Stuffed and mounted' monuments that no longer have any connection with their original function are a bit sad to me.
    (Speaking as some one who volunteers their time on a 'heritage' railway in Sydney and is currently 'in training' to drive vintage trams on a museum tramway).

    So I'm very interested any advice people might have.

    And if there are any fellow clubsnap train 'nuts' to want to escort an Aussie around the KTM lines and know where you can go and where you can't, send me a message.
    My group was there last Sat and we're planning to go again but after Hari Raya.Enjoy

  5. #5

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by wildcat View Post
    So far, as long as you don't enter the no-entry require-passport area, I think they are quite lenient. Definitely more friendly than some buildings I've tried taking where the guards come running out to chase you even though you're taking from the side of the road. A group of us set up tripods and such, no problem. Not sure why Nisa had problems.
    We are talking about the Bt Timah railway station andnot the tanjong pagar one right?

  6. #6

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by matthew View Post
    ifferent routes in Malaysia.

    Seems a shame to close the line and rip it up for property development as it appears will happen. A group of SG locals need to get together and turn it into a tourist railway and preserve the stations with their original functions!.
    unfortunately, Singapore is an small island and we do not have much land to preserve. and that also explained why properties are more and more expensive.
    Objection !!!

  7. #7

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by Nisa View Post
    We are talking about the Bt Timah railway station andnot the tanjong pagar one right?
    yap.. Bt Timah Railway Station.

    See the following links for some of the photos taken at the station. ^^
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=753080
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  8. #8

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    I didnt exactly take fantastic shots there but:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/agnosticgary/4716503897/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/agnosticgary/4716359957/
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/agnosticgary/4716359109/

    Just speak to the guy nicely & he would let you shoot

  9. #9
    Senior Member wildcat's Avatar
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    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by Nisa View Post
    We are talking about the Bt Timah railway station andnot the tanjong pagar one right?
    Sorry, my bad. I didn't read correctly

  10. #10

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by Royale With Cheese View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by skylover View Post
    yap.. Bt Timah Railway Station.

    See the following links for some of the photos taken at the station. ^^
    http://www.clubsnap.com/forums/showthread.php?t=753080
    I spoke to the person nicely, but he said he is under order by his company not to allow anyone to take.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by Nisa View Post
    I spoke to the person nicely, but he said he is under order by his company not to allow anyone to take.
    oh.. hmm.. not sure.. maybe the one you met was following SOP strictly..
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  12. #12
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    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by Nisa View Post
    I spoke to the person nicely, but he said he is under order by his company not to allow anyone to take.
    Buy coffee for him lah

  13. #13

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by skylover View Post
    oh.. hmm.. not sure.. maybe the one you met was following SOP strictly..
    I find most Railway people i've spoken to are prepared to 'bend' the rules a little if you show polite interest in their work. Most railways have rules about 'non approved persons' being on the property and rules against photographs in 'non public areas'. Mostly the management are worried about legal problems if some one gets hurt.
    So it's really up to the temperament of the person on duty.(And if they think any line managers are around and they will get 'found out' :-)

    It can also be mood - the person who was told no might have hit some one who really didn't want to be at work that day, but got rostered anyway, so they spent their entire shift grumpy :-)

  14. #14

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by matthew View Post
    I find most Railway people i've spoken to are prepared to 'bend' the rules a little if you show polite interest in their work. Most railways have rules about 'non approved persons' being on the property and rules against photographs in 'non public areas'. Mostly the management are worried about legal problems if some one gets hurt.
    So it's really up to the temperament of the person on duty.(And if they think any line managers are around and they will get 'found out' :-)

    It can also be mood - the person who was told no might have hit some one who really didn't want to be at work that day, but got rostered anyway, so they spent their entire shift grumpy :-)
    That is very true, the same for me when i was at the small station in Kranji, the folks were very friendly, i ended up sitting down for a chat for almost 2 hours.
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  15. #15

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by Nisa View Post
    I spoke to the person nicely, but he said he is under order by his company not to allow anyone to take.
    heehee... The guy feeling on the ball that day?

    Pick another day & try?

    I was lucky the last time I was there, had a friend who used to be in the locomotive industry. He knew everything about how the whole station works. Had a chat with the guy duty & I think he was rather impressed & with more chatting, I was even able to take a picture of him in his small office

  16. #16

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by sbs99 View Post
    That is very true, the same for me when i was at the small station in Kranji, the folks were very friendly, i ended up sitting down for a chat for almost 2 hours.
    I think more important is how we approach people. After all they will be responsible for your live if you do not heed their advice.. There has been a few incident of death before. So it is not surprising that they might not allow at times..
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  17. #17

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by cleonbus View Post
    Welcome to Singapore



    Yep its used as a signal station and trains are still operating daily and there will normally be 1 station staff working...



    To get there,you can take bus 171(I presume you're coming from City area) and alight at King Albert Park along Bukit Timah Road.When you go up,greet him and try to strike a conversation with him...

    Just the sort of information I needed to know - thanks.

    I've got a 2007/2008 'mighty minds' Singapore public transport map. So I've determined from it I want stop B45 on route 171. But a major failing with an otherwise good map is while you know what bus services the stop you want, there is no indication where those buses run from. I think I've determined that it's also services a stop near Newton MRT which is right next to where a SG resident friend lives.



    As far as i know,it passes at 7.30-8am,12.45-1.15pm,4pm+ and 8pm+.Mail train would be around 2pm+
    I think I will try for Mid-day on Saturday and see what sort of reception I get from the station master.


    Thanks for the information.

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by matthew View Post
    Just the sort of information I needed to know - thanks.

    I've got a 2007/2008 'mighty minds' Singapore public transport map. So I've determined from it I want stop B45 on route 171. But a major failing with an otherwise good map is while you know what bus services the stop you want, there is no indication where those buses run from. I think I've determined that it's also services a stop near Newton MRT which is right next to where a SG resident friend lives.

    I think I will try for Mid-day on Saturday and see what sort of reception I get from the station master.


    Thanks for the information.
    Yup stop at B45 Bukit Timah Rd.If you're coming from Newton MRT(I assume B09 Bukit Timah Rd) you can take 66,67,170,171

  19. #19

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Thanks to the information posted here I got my photos. I went out on Saturday and saw one of the rare goods trains that run on the line. Apparently sugar is still sent by train to Singapore. The Saturday station master was really friendly and helpful.
    He wants people to ask him for permission to ensure no one gets hurt - in particular the bridge over the road seems to be popular with photographers and he's worried some one might get caught on the bridge.

    We had missed a good shot of a passenger train 'staff' exchange (the token for permission to entire the line) and it was 2 hours to the next train, So I decided to come back the next day (Today Sunday). The station master provided me with a list of train times.

    Different staff were on duty today (Sunday), who initially said 'no, against rules, Malaysian property', but when I said my photos were for personal use, he said yes, but 'just for one train'. That one train was two trains crossing, with the 'express' not stopping and the token exchange done on the fly. This station master was also friendly once the 'ice was broken', but he had some one else with him who may have a stricter interpretation of the rules.


    I would advise any one going out there, to make your selves known to the staff, who can tell you when trains are arriving and basically 'keep an eye out for you'. They just want to do their jobs with out people being hurt. And remember they are doing you a favour, technically they probably are breaking the rules letting people wander about the station and tracks taking photos.

    Again, thanks.

    (Now 'airside' at Changi , waiting to board a Singapore Air A380 to Paris)

  20. #20

    Default Re: Photographing around KTM Bukit Timah railway station

    Quote Originally Posted by matthew View Post
    I would advise any one going out there, to make your selves known to the staff, who can tell you when trains are arriving and basically 'keep an eye out for you'. They just want to do their jobs with out people being hurt. And remember they are doing you a favour, technically they probably are breaking the rules letting people wander about the station and tracks taking photos.
    This is very good advice
    Plainly, it just boils down between their livelihood (ricebowl) or your photos needs, if one don't comply to them, they won't give you leeway either.
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