The International Steam Pages
The Penang Hill Railway, 2012 - The Middle Station Part 1
For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:
The Penang Hill Railway has undergone big changes between 2009 and 2012, this is Part 2 of the 2012 account, you can read about it in the following pages:
I have uploaded a 10 minute video of the new railway to YouTube (16th April 2012) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m05hlwSU2bk.
We took a couple of days off to recover before we were ready to attack the hill again. We took the horse-shoe shaped route to the east of the railway which I described in the 2010 Part 1 account.
We were still not in time for the durians, we saw a couple high up on one tree but for the most part the trees were either flowering or about to:
Yuehong provided some 'human interest' at one of the small shrines:
We even found a rubber tapping couple at work - the latex will be worth RM 5 (GBP 1) a kilo.
Viewed from certain angles, the Middle Station is unchanged, a perfect environment for the new Museum:
Alas, showing Malaysia at its very worst, nothing has been done beyond getting the contractors to place the old coach in position. There is a sign showing the location of the museum, but the building is locked and bolted and the interior left slumbering. It is just possible to sneak a look to confirm that the old equipment is still in place. This is the winding wheel with the rheostatic units for braking on the right.
If the railway can afford to pay security guards to twiddle their thumbs all day as we saw here and at other stations, then they can certainly afford to clean this place and pay someone to show around the visitors. At least we were free to wander round the exterior, which has been left in a rather scruffy state beyond the immediate vicinity of the railway - this clearly not being an area of responsibility of the contractors. Frankly, it's a blot on the good name of the railway and indicates a need for a more proactive kind of management than that which has plagued the railway for many, many years; it's a poor omen for the future. (I later discovered that it is an area of concern and that it is expected that work will start in April 2012 to get the area sorted and the museum operational...)
The viewing balcony gives an excellent view of the new diversion:
Rob and Yuehong Dickinson