The last manual railroad turntable was dismantled by a removal team at the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) fleet depot in Tumpat, Kelantan yesterday (June 23), ending the service of one of oldest pieces of operating railway equipment in Malaysia.
The British-made cast iron turntable, manufactured by Shaft & Axletree Engineers Co Ltd (located in Wednesbury, West Midlands in England) in 1913, was purchased by the Federated Malay States Railways (FMSR) company. The Tumpat station opened in May, 1914. The turntable was situated at the Tumpat station's depot/roundhouse.
In rail terminology, a "railway turntable" is a device for turning railway rolling stock, usually locomotives, so that they can be moved back in the direction from which they came. The Tumpat turntable only needed two or three railroad staff to operate it, rotating the locomotive and reversing its direction for the next train journey.
Azman Hasan, an operations personnel from the Tumpat train station, said the turntable has been removed to facilitate an operational upgrade at the station.
The Tumpat turntable has been in service for nearly 108 years, and the news of its removal has made the social media rounds, with history buffs and the public commenting that KTMB should donate the turntable to the national museum (Muzium Negara) where it should be refurbished and exhibited.
In a statement on Facebook, KTMB said it has plans to rehome the historic railroad turntable, where the public will be able to view it.
The Tumpat train station is situated at the end of the East Coast Line railway line operated by KTMB which links Kelantan to the western part of Peninsular Malaysia.