STATIONMASTER Atan Ahmad had to sacrifice his ambition as a fighter pilot with the Royal Malaysian Airforce for a job with the Railway.
The Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad employee also has a reason to be proud as Bukit Timah’s last stationmaster as the rail facility would be relocated to Woodlands in Singapore.
Atan was persuaded by his mother to take up bank teller job in his early days. His his forays included a job as a schoolteacher before he was employed by KTMB 20 years ago.
The stationmaster said he began his career in the Railway as a ticket inspector in Gemas and had travelled the country far and wide.
Atan had a penchant for wearing uniform and to substitute a fighter pilot’s G-suit, he donned the KTMB stationmaster’s garb in 1999 when he was posted to take charge of the Bukit Timah Station in Singapore.
“I joined the Railway and kept it a secret from my mum as I knew she would be very angry with me for leaving the teaching profession as teaching was considered honourable in those days.
“I joined KTMB because I always wanted to wear a uniform,” he said.
In relating his experience as Bukit Timah stationmaster, Atan said he was very reluctant to take up the offer because the job came with a huge responsibility.
“I get goose pimples thinking of the task which is to ensure that the incoming train from Malayisia would not derail at any time,” he said.
Atan said he changed his mind after his wife persuaded and encouraged him to take up the offer.
Come July 1, Atan will report to his new workplace in JB Sentral, Johor Baru.
KTMB’s rail services from Peninsular Malaysia would end at the Woodlands Customs and Immigration Checkpoint.
“When the news about the closure of Bukit Timah Station and Tanjong Pagar stations were announced, many people living near the railway tracks came up to me and said they would miss the trains passing through their vicinity,” he said.
KTMB southern region manager Tariq Umar Mohamed said June 30 will be the last day for the operations for both stations (anjong Pagar and Bukit Timah) where the last train will depart at 11pm with 90 KTMB employees.
“It will be a historic moment after 93 years operating in Singapore,” he said.
Tariq added that the redeployment of KTMB’s employees from the Tanjong Pagar station would conduct in stages.