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Railway Station & Hotel, Kuala Lumpur (1911)

A station worthy of the Federal Capital, located on Damansara Road. Construction was part of a program that involved straightening some portions of the Klang River, building of a temporary station, as well as dismantling the staff quarters and re-erecting them in Brickfields.

 

Hubback's Official Post/Role: Federal P.W.D Assistant Architect ARIBA

Construction Supervisor: W.S Huxley

Year Designed: 1908

Opening of Station: 1 July 1911

Operation of Hotel: 11 August 1911

Contractors:

Foundation, subways and platforms - Towkay Ang Seng

Superstructure of Main Building -  Messrs. J.A Russell & P.C Russell (sons of Government Printer John Russel who tendered for the project twice, and got rejected the first time because was perceived as too young and inexperienced for this particular class of work. Head of FMS Government printing office)

Construction Cost for Superstructure: $159,289.36

Roofing - Selangor P.W.D

Construction Cost for Roofing: $742,980 Straits Dollars

An additional north end extension built by Contractors Messrs. D.G. Robertson & Co. in 1914, superintended by Mr. W. Rowell for Messrs. Robertson.

Architectural Style: Mughal Eclectic

Brief Architectural Description: 450ft x 150ft wide with three railway platforms. A two-storey station building with mezzanine and 16 hotel bedrooms on the second floor. Linear set of halls fronted by deep continuous covered loggia and the platforms were laid out parallel at the back. Minarets all in reinforced concrete. Platforms covered by a steel-framed roof that was originally glazed and partially open to allow smoke from steam locomotives to escape, and the station to breathe.

Amongst the first passengers to use the station were Sultan Alauddin Suleiman Shah, the Sultan of Selangor as well as Sir John Anderson, the British Governor of the Straits Settlements.

Original Use: Train Station/Hotel

Original Building Type: Terminal/Hotel

Current Name: Bangunan Stesen Keretapi Kuala Lumpur

Current Use: Train Station / Office (Hotel currently vacant)

Current Building Use: Terminal/Office

Gazetted as Malaysia's National Heritage in 2007

Gazetted Name: Bangunan Stesen Keretapi Kuala Lumpur

 

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The Malay Mail Weekly Edition, 19 May 1910, p1

Original document obtained from Arkib Negara Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur.

Progress of New Station Described.

The Scheme in Detail.

The construction of the new railway station at Kuala Lumpur has now reached a stage when the general public can form some idea of the appearance which the finished building will present. In a previous article, written when a start had just been made upon the main building, we gave some details of the general plan, and it may be as well briefly to recapitulate them before dealing with the progress which has since been made. The new buildings, with platforms, will cover an area of about 140,000 square feet, that is to say three and one-third acres. They will consist of a large station building, facing on Damansara Road and occupying the half of the present station further from Kuala Lumpur, as well as a great deal of additional space, besides three platforms, connected by two sub-ways – one with stairs for passengers, the other sloped for luggage.

 

The platform space will be roofed in and the down side of the station will be contained by the high wall which is now such a noticeable feature. To turn the progress made on the several contracts under which the work is being carried out: Towkay Ang Seng, who is constructing the foundation, sub-ways and platforms, has finished and white-tiled the sub-ways, while all the foundations are completed with the exception of those which will support the wing of the new building, intended to occupy the site of the old station. The platforms too, are well advanced and those on the down side are ready to be used while the old station is being removed. The P.W.D factory, which is responsible for the roofing, has finished the down side portion of its work, the necessary re-laying of the metals is nearing completion, and temporary offices have been erected to be used while the site of the old station is being built upon.

The Main Building.

We now come to the main building, the contract for which is in the hands of Messrs. J.A. and P.C Russell who have made rapid progress with their work. The building fronts upon the Damansara Road and is about 450 feet long by 150 feet wide. It will have two storeys with a mazzine storey between them. The upper part of the building rests upon rows of columns outside the main entrance to the station forming a covering to protect passengers arriving at, or departing from, the station, from the vagaries of the weather. This upper part of the building will contain the 16 bedrooms of the station hotel, their verandahs and bathrooms- the latter in the mazzine storey. The lower portion will be occupied by station offices, waiting and refreshment rooms.

 

What Has Been Done.

The outer walls of the main building, with the exception of that part which will occupy the site of the old station, are complete up to the level of the bedrooms, the new fire-proof verandah floors of which are also finished. Walking in under the main entrance, one is favourably impressed by the rows of columns supporting the upper storey, which even is their partially finished condition, give a good idea of the imposing appearance they will eventually present. By the way, with rubber at its present price, we suppose it is no good suggestion that, for the comfort of people staying in the hotel, the space underneath it might be paved (A la Savoy) with the product of the fancy we are all backing. The main entrance leads direct into a large booking hall now nearly finished. On the left are the staircase to the hotel bedrooms, the first-class waiting rooms and a spacious refreshment room nearing completion, while beyond this gain will be the boys’ quarters, the site of which is now occupied by the old station. To the right of the main booking hall are first the luggage offices, then a large third-class waiting room, and lastly the station store-rooms, all practically completed. The whole range of buildings will be particularly well lighted with skylights, there being nothing above it, since the hotel bedrooms are entirely supported on the columns outside the main entrance.

 

The top story has not yet made sufficient progress to call for a detailed description, but it may be mentioned that the bedrooms will be large and that each will have a separate verandah, the view from which is quite extensive though it is not so fine as that from the flat roof of the hotel will have the makings of a very good roof garden.

 

Rapid Progress.

The Messrs. Russell have made such good use of their time that, if present progress is maintained, we ought to have our new station- the third since the railway from Kuala Lumpur to Klang was opened-well within two years of the contract time. But even when the contracts are completed, the building, which will be not unlike that of the head railways offices (though with a different scheme of colour), will be robbed of a good deal of the imposing appearance which the plans show it should possess, for the government have decided that the wing of the main building furthers from Kuala Lumpur shall not be undertaken at present, so that it will inevitably present a somewhat unfinished appearance. In addition, about one third of all the platforms at the same end are not to be rooted in, and, though this may not cause a great deal of inconvenience to passengers, it will scarcely have a beneficial effect upon their luggage, which will have to be taken from the train and conveyed across a platform space unprotected from the rain in order to reach the luggage sub-way. However, thought it may be that in the shortened span of life allotted to most residents in the Middle East not many of us will see the station in the possession of the full dignity with which the architect has endowed it, we may reasonably expect before long to possess a building which, besides adding greatly to the comfort and convenience of passengers, will, even in its unfinished state, be a worthy addition to the handsome public offices of which the inhabitants of Kuala Lumpur are so justly proud.

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SSF 1196/09 From the Resident General to His Excellency The High Commissioner of the FMS, Singapore.

Original document obtained from Arkib Negara Malaysia

No 1126/1909 5th August 1909.

Subject Tenders for the construction of the superstructure of the New Railway Station, Kuala Lumpur.

 

Sir,

 

I have the honour to submit for Your Excellency’s consideration a copy of a letter from the General Manager, Federated Malay States Railways, forwarding three tenders for the construction of the superstructure of the new railway Station, Kuala Lumpur.

 

2. This is the second occasion on which tenders for this work have been called: on the first occasion Sir Arthur Young approved of an addition of $40.000 to the estimate to enable the lowest tender to be accepted. Mr. Nicholas, the successful tenderer declined to carry out his contract, and it became necessary to call for fresh tenders, with the present result.

 

3. The lowest, that of Kee Sen, I am unable to recommend: little is known of this man, except that he was, until recently, a headman on the Java Street Bridge works- he made no attempt to see the plans or specifications, and his tender according to his own statement, is only a lump sum suggested by a friend.

 

4. The next tender is that of Messrs J.A. and P.C. Russell of $159,289.36. So far as the financing of the contract is concerned I am satisfied that Mr. J.A. Russell (who is the financial partner) is able to carry out that part of the undertaking. The control of the work will be in the hands of the younger brother Mr. P.C. Russell. This gentleman came to Singapore some 2 years ago, having served his time with a well known firm of contractors in Malta- he is now in charge of all of Loke Yew's building operations and is also the local representative of Messrs. Swan and Maclaren Singapore.

 

5. He has not up to the present undertaken any public work of importance, and while I hear him generally spoken of as a man of considerable ability, I must confess to some misgiving whether his knowledge and experience is sufficient to enable him to carry to a successful issue a contract of this importance and magnitude.

 

6. The third tender is that of Ang Seng, $169,025.21 or $10.000 more than that of Messrs. Russell. This contractor was one of the tenderers on the first occasion, when his tender was some $24,000 in excess of the sum now offered; he has done a great deal of satisfactory work for the Railway Department, and may be relied on to carry out the present contract successfully.

 

7. Whichever tender it is decided to accept there will be an excess over the sanctioned estimate; the original sum approved by your Excellency was $186,000, which was further extended by $40,000 sanctioned by Sir Arthur Young in Your Excellency’s office correspondence R.G.O.513/09. A further sum now required will be in case of No.2 being accepted, $15,289.36 while if No. 3 is approved, the amount necessary will be $25,025.21

 

8. As stated in my letter 2160/09 of the 8th May (to which R.G.513/09 is the reply) it is anticipated that there will be savings amounting to $35,000 in connection with materials ordered from Crown agents, and under the circumstances I venture to ask Your Excellency to approve of a further sum of $15,300 to enable the contract of Messrs J.A. and P.C. Russell to be accepted.

 

I have the honour to be Sir,

Your Excellency's most obedient servant.

Signed for Resident General

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SSF 1126/09 Note. From the High Commissioners Office 11th August 1909 John Anderson HC, F.M.S. to the Resident General.

Original document obtained from Arkib Negara Malaysia

 

Sir,

In reply to your letter of 5th August. No 1126/1909 of the 15th August, I have the honour to approve of the acceptance of the tender of Messrs. J.A. and P.C. Russell for the construction of the superstructure of the new Railway Station at Kuala Lumpur, and of the necessary supplementary provision of $15,000.

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SSF 962/09 Federated Malay States Railways Schedule for Tenders

Original document obtained from Arkib Negara Malaysia

For Re-Construction of Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, Superstructure of the Station etc.

Contractor | Tender Price | Duration

Kee Sen  | $157,000.00  | 27 months from date of acceptance of tender

J.A Russell & Philip C. Russell | $159,289.36 | 27 months form date of acceptance of tender

Ang Sen | $169,025.21 | 2 years from date of acceptance of tender

G.D. Salter | $170,863.84 |3 years from date of acceptance of tender

Ng Ah Hoang | $178,620.80 | 28 months from date of acceptance of tender.

Howarth Erskine | $202,496.75 | Nil

 

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Malay Mail Weekly Edition, 6th July 1911

Original document obtained from Arkib Negara Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur Station. Open To Day.

Undoubtedly we are becoming up-to-date. One has only to go to the new station at Kuala Lumpur, opened to-day, to feel convinced of it The would-be-traveller approaches the station from the Damansara Road by a covered drive and, on entering the on entering the central booking hall, a place of spacious proportions, is confronted by a time-board which shows the next train from each of the four platforms, while against the space allotted to the trains is a clock dial with hands pointing to the time of departure.

The first-class booking offices, reminiscent of a London terminus, are behind the time-boards and on each side of them are the entrances to the platforms. To the right of the central booking hall are the parcels’ offices, the third class booking hall and the third class refreshment room; to the left are the first-class bar and the first-class refreshment room. The latter is a really fine room, fitted with electric fans and lights, and capable of seating a large number of people. With its present allowance of tables and chairs, the latter, by the way, of exceedingly comfortable design, it can accommodate 52 persons, but, should occasion arise, there is room for many more.

The kitchens and store rooms adjoining are large and airy, while a special feature of this part of the building is a changing-room where passengers who do not wish to stay the night at the station hotel can get a bath and a change in comfort. Luggage and passenger subways connect platform no. 1 with the other platforms, the fourth of which, that on the High Street side, will shortly be denuded of the wooden offices which have been doing temporary duty pending the opening of the station.


The upper storey of the new station, which will be the hotel, is not yet completed but the ground floor, containing all the necessary offices, is now in use and, from what we have see on of it, should prove really adequate to the needs of a town of the size and importance of Kuala Lumpur.

The appearance of the exterior of the building is familiar to most of our readers and has already been described by us. It only remains to congratulate the Railway authorities on their forward policy which has given us a station suitable to our needs, the architect, Mr. A.B Hubback, who has designed a building worthy to rank with the best we already have, and the contractors, Mr. A.J and Mr. P.C Russell, who have carried out their work with such thoroughness and despatch.

The train which left Kuala Lumpur at 8.30 last night arrived well on time at Singapore this morning.