Wednesday, 30 July 2014
It was Raya morning and I was talking to my mother-in-law. I call her Chek Daddy. She is called Yah in her village. Her name is Mariah @ Shamsiah bt Ahmad, a local from Kampung Gajah Mati village in Kota Bharu.
Chek was born in 1937. I asked Chek about train travels before the Sultan Ismail bridge was built. This is her story. According to Chek, she had travelled on the train from Palekbang to Butterworth (now Seberang Perai) via Siam. Palekbang had a big train station. Pasir Mas also had a big train station. Tumpat was where the trains were stored and repaired. Trains from Tumpat came down to Palekbang to pick up passengers, and moved onward to Pasir Mas. From Pasir Mas, the train lines split into 2, one went towards Tanah Merah and onward to Seberang Prai. Another train line went up north to Siam and came back down to Seberang Perai.
I remember writing the biography for Dr Ali Othman Merican in Biography of the Early Malay Doctors 1900-1957 Malaya and Singapore. In his biography, I mentioned that he took a train from Butterworth to Palekbang via Siam. It was a 2-day journey.
According to Chek, Palekbang train station has ceased to exist today. I passed by the site and saw remnants of its columns standing among the overgrowth. Chek and Affandi said that the train line from Tanah Merah to Butterworth has ceased to exist. They also said that the train line from Pasir Mas to Siam and back down to Butterworth has ceased to exist.
I have no further information of train travels within Kelantan and Malaya before 1969.