Jumaat, 6 Januari 2012

Wakaf Bharu Station: A Part Of Kelantan History

KOTA BAHARU, Jan 6 (Bernama) -- Some Malaysians may find traveling by train more backward than by bus, taxi or airplane.

However, on the west coast of the peninsula, rail transportation such as the Komuter, Light Railway Transit (LRT) and Monorail are popular alternatives to road transport, especially during rush hour.



For those living on the east coast, especially in Kelantan, the intercity train service run by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) are important.

The service is also important in connecting the east coast to the west coast, especially for the journey toward Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baharu, and the northern parts of the peninsula.

The Wakaf Bharu KTMB station in Tumpat, Kelantan. is one of the most popular stations in the "Cik Siti Wan Kembang" state.

Besides being a transit point for tourists heading toward destinations such as Pengkalan Kubor and Rantau Panjang, it also connects passengers to Kota Baharu, only 20 minutes away from the station.

A "ROYAL STATION"

The Wakaf Bharu KTMB station, which started operations in 1965, was the transportation lifeline for those in the east coast states, especially Kelantan, before a new station replaced it in February 2009.

The station has been used by the Kelantan Sultans to Kuala Lumpur since the time Almarhum Sultan Yahya Petra ibni Almarhum Sultan Ibrahim Petra used it to attend a special meeting when he became the 6th Yang Di-Pertuan Agong.

KTMB marketing manager Mohd Noordin Kimi, who took the writer on a tour around the station, said all of the Sultan's needs while he was the Agong were brought from the Kelantan Palace to Kuala Lumpur through the Wakaf Bharu station.

"This includes food and other items for use at Istana Negara.

"What is unique is that we would also transport through the station the water for his bathing from the well of the Kelantan Palace. This would be done at least twice a week," he said during an interview on the launch of the Malayan Tiger Train (MTT) at Johor Baharu Sentral.

A CONTINUING TRADITION

The station's train services were also employed by his son, Sultan Ismail Petra ibni Almahrum Sultan Yahya Petra.

Noordin, who acted as tour guide for the writer in Kelantan, said that KTMB regarded it an honour for Kelantan royalty to employ its services, even after the Sultan's term as Agong ended. His son continued using KTMB to tend to official matters in Kuala Lumpur.

The historical station was renovated for the exclusive use of the Kelantan Sultan. This includes modifying its VVIP room to become the Royal Room, with decoration emulating the interior of the Kelantan Palace.

"When the Sultan wants to travel to Kuala Lumpur via this station, KTMB modifies the VVIP room and places the red carpet, while the Palace arranges for the room decor to be changed," said Noordin.

SPECIAL CARRIAGE

Because of the frequency of the Kelantan Sultan using its train services as His Majesty's main mode of transportation, KTMB has modified a carriage for the ruler's exclusive use, dubbed SK 1.

Its interior design is based on consultation with the former Kelantan ruler, Sultan Ismail Petra, and his wife, Raja Perempuan Kelantan Tengku Anis Tengku Abdul Hamid. The dining area is also modeled after the one in the palace.

"The SK1 coach is a special carriage but it travels along with the regular coaches carrying people on the same path," he said.

Noordin said KTMB has built another coach, named SK2, in honour of other Sultans in the country, so they can use it for official purposes.

"Among the uniqueness of the coach is that the dining area is decorated in such a way that one feels like they are eating at the Balairong Seri (the Throne Hall), even though they're on a train," he said.

A TOURIST ATTRACTION

The writer found the Wakaf Bharu station different from the other stations in the state, such as the Pasir Mas, Tumpat and Tanah Merah stations.

The station seem to be a draw for foreign tourists, especially those from Japan, Thailand, and Singapore, who will stop there on route other stations in Kelantan.

Noordin said a majority of the tourists who disembark at Wakaf Bharu will make their way to Gunung Stong, where the highest waterfall in Southeast Asia is located.

"The location of the Wakaf Bharu station is strategic. It's near to Kota Baharu, Rantau Panjang, Pengkalan Kubor and Gunung Stong," he said.

-- BERNAMA

Photo sources : Flickr, abrashid.blogspot.com

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