Monday, 31 October 2011

Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition in Singapore

Titanic was completed on the 2nd April 1912 
and was at that time the largest ship in the world.
above 'images' from the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition in Singapore (photo by Leone Fabre)

RMS Titanic began her maiden voyage from Southampton, bound for New York City on 10 April 1912, with Captain Edward J. Smith in command.

 (the above map marks the route of Titanic during her maiden voyage, the ports on that route, and approximate location of where she sank. The remaining portion of her uncompleted route is shown dashed.

Date Source
This image was created by en:User:MechBrowman using and Paint Shop Pro and edited by en:User:Gary Joseph 23:05, 8 October 2006 (UTC) using Corel Draw 12.

This work has been released into the public domain by its author, MechBrowman at the English Wikipedia project. This applies worldwide)

above 'images' from the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition in Singapore (photo by Leone Fabre)

Despite several Ice-berg warnings she held her speed of 21 knots and on the 14th April she struck an ice-berg at 11:40 PM and at 0:05 AM it became evident that she was going to sink. 
above image on the right: National Maritime Museum, Greenwich,  this artistic work created by the United Kingdom Government is in the public domain.

above image on the left: artist: Willy Stöwer, died on 31st May 1931 *Description: Titanic sinking *License: public domain, copyright expired . This image is in the public domain because its copyright has expired.
The first lifeboat was lowered at 12:45 AM and the last 2:05 AM and she sank at 2:20 AM.
1523 people perished that icy night and 705 was rescued by the Cunard liner Carpathia.
In 1986 Dr Robert Ballard found her 4 km below the water surface.

News of Titanic's sinking reached the world in fragments. Initial reports stated that the steamship Virginian had reached Titanic in time, saving the ship and all aboard. 

Soon, however, the horrific truth was known, Titanic was gone.

But has it totally gone?

no, definitely not!

the RMS Titanic has re surfaced at the ArtScience Museum here in Singapore!!!

In April 1912, the world’s largest Ship set sail with over 2,200 people on board. Four days later, she sank in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean. Now, nearly 100 years later, the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands has brought to life the timeless story of RMS Titanic, her passengers and crew in Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition. 

We had the privilege of being invited to attend the Exhibition on the day of opening, to meet Captain Smith (as seen below) take in a guided tour and to participate in some letter writing!

What a wonderful experience! We knew a little about the 'story of the Titanic" as most people do, but we learned much more by attending the exhibition and taking in the guided tour  - which is highly recommended - than we could possibly have gathered from other sources. To be part of the "experience" was in a word, incredible. I am not going to give too much away as it will spoil some of the surprises, but suffice to say, I am sure that you have never attended such an exhibition as this in the past!
image on left: in the first class cabin, by Leone Fabre                                  
image on right: 'image' from the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition in Singapore (photo by Leone Fabre)

In the images above, can you imagine yourself sitting down to "High Tea" in the First Calss Lounge on board the RMS Titanic?

or perhaps playing cards with fellow passengers?

playing cards on display at the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition in Singapore (photo by Leone Fabre)

perhaps drinking hot chocolate from this silver pot?  Remember, this is in the month of April and it is cold on the North Atlantic ocean!

 'image' from the Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition in Singapore (photo by Leone Fabre)

Occupying 2,500 square meters of gallery space, the Exhibition shows the magnitude of Titanic using real artifacts recovered from the wreck site.  

More than 275 artifacts recovered from the Titanic are on display in Singapore until April 2012. The exhibition is showcased at the ArtScience Museum at Marina Bay Sands, featuring 14 artifacts - which have never been displayed before - bringing to life the story of the ship - the world's largest then, her passengers and her crew and also recreates areas of the ship.
Titanic: The Artifact Exhibition happens from October 29 to April 2012 at the ArtScience Museum, Marina Bay Sands.

This exhibition is well worth attending for both adults and children from about 10 years of age. It is also an "experience" not to miss, the exhibition displays a lot of the artifacts found at the wreck site and can be seen in many images on the web. But you cannot 'experience' the complete exhibition unless you attend in person. It is well worth it. I might also suggest you take a guided tour if possible, the guides at the ArtScience Museum are very knowledgeable on every aspect of the Titanic and can tell you stories that you may have not heard in the past and so make the 'experience' of attending the exhibition that much more enjoyable.

I know I will be going again and soon!

Please stay with us as we take you further on the journey of the RMS Titanic in Singapore over the next few days.

We would like to thank Wendy Lim of Marina Bay Sands and the ArtScience Museum for providing us with an afternoon of enjoyment at this amazing Exhibition.
(Leone & John Fabre)

Caveat and Disclaimer:

"This blog resulted from an invitation and represents the thoughts and opinions of the writer. All information on this blog is provided "as is", with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy or timeliness and the writer will not be liable for any losses, injuries or damages from the display or use of this information. All text and photos on this blog are the original works of the writer unless stated otherwise."

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Kota Kinabalu

If you are looking for a short weekend break from Singapore, maybe consider Kota Kinabalu. The flight takes 2 hours and 20 minutes from Singapore to Kota Kinabalu.

Kota Kinabalu is often known as K.K. within Malaysia and internationally. It is a major tourist destination and a popular gateway for travellers visiting Sabah and Borneo. Kinabalu National Park is located about 90 kilometres from the city and there are many tourist attractions in and around the city. Kota Kinabalu is also one of the major industrial and commercial centres of East Malaysia. These two factors combine to make Kota Kinabalu one of the fastest growing cities in Malaysia.

Equatorial climate with daily temperatures ranging between 23 degrees Celsius and 32 degrees Celsius throughout the year in the lowlands. Wettest months are from November to February and you will get to see some amazing sunsets too!

all my blog posts on Kota Kinabalu are here:









Friday, 28 October 2011

The Papar Railway Turntable

The above map shows the rail line between Tanjung Aru and Papar .... the North Borneo Railways run a steam train between these two stations. The distance being 38.5 klms.

Previous blog posts will have further information on the train and the journey itself. This blog post is to show you the railway turntable at Papar and what it does. Not many people have actually seen one in operation.

A turntable is a large circular platform which is used to turn locomotives and other rolling stock for railways. A well-engineered turntable is designed in such a way that the efforts of only two or three people are needed to operate the turntable, even when dealing with very large and heavy locomotives. A related railroad term is “wye,” a term used to describe a special configuration of track which essentially allows trains to make really big three point turns so that they can turn to face the direction they came from.

The North Borneo Steam Train travels the 38.5 klms from Tanjung Aru all the way to Papar, but once there it needs to 'turn around' to do the return journey.

The reason the turntable was developed was because early steam locomotives were somewhat difficult to run in reverse. In some cases, locomotives lacked a reverse gear altogether, and in other instances, the reverse speed was very slow and clumsy, which could be a liability at a busy switching station or hub. As a result, train companies started building turntables so that they could quickly turn their locomotives around.

The following images will guide you as to how it works:

First though, the train pulls into the station and unhitches the carriages. The carriages remain at the station as the locomotive moves off to start its turn around. Here you can see the locomotive reversing towards the turntable .....

In the next set of images, the locomotive slowly moves towards the turntable. To use a turntable, a locomotive or railway car is driven or pushed onto the platform and locked in place before the platform is spun to face in a new direction.

In addition to being used to turn rolling stock 180 degrees, turntables can also be used to shunt locomotives off onto sections of track positioned at a variety of angles relative to the turntable. Once the platform has been turned and locked in place, the locomotive can be unlocked and moved.

The engine is now on the turntable and the controller - sitting in the small control box - operates the turntable anti clockwise with the locomotive on.

The locomotive has now done a 180 degree turn. It will now reverse back up the line until it reaches the rail line it can travel on to re attach itself to the carriages.

In the next set of images you will see the 'back' of the locomotive. This is called the TENDER. It is a container holding both water for the boiler and combustible fuel such as wood, coal or oil for the fire box.

The 90 ton locomotive is also seen reversing back into the platform area at Papar ready to re attach itself to the carriages, as seen in the images below....

The North Borneo Railway features a British 'Vulcan' steam locomotive, built and designed by the Vulcan Foundry in England in 1954. The Vulcan is the last of a fleet of steam engines that have plied the tracks through Borneo since the late 1800's.

The engine weighs 90 tons and is finished in traditional dark green and black, with a red stripe to highlight the brass detailing. The wheels are fabricated of iron, with a molded NBR acronym, standing for the North Borneo Railway.

The engine is designed for wood burning, a costly yet a viable form of generating steam. Stepping into the engine is an opportunity to jump back into the shoes of a child, bringing back childhood dreams of pulling on the whistle as the massive train rolls through the countryside.

I did locate two fairly well presented video clips on 
YouTube of the above North Borneo Railway. 
You may care to see them.  

Previous blog posts on the North Borneo Railway:

North Borneo Railway information:

email for North Borneo Railway

Steam trains and steam train travel always bring back wonderful memories to many people and in a recent blog post about the Tanjong Pagar train station here in Singapore (on his blog titled "The Long and Winding Road"), Jerome Lim mentions "A walk around the yard took me back to a time we have forgotten. The highlight was the turntable which was installed in 1932."
If you want a nostalgic experience or the excitement of traveling on a steam train, do make sure you book the North Borneo Railway Journey in Kota Kinabalu. Information on booking the train is above.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

chugging along on the way to Papar .....

We are so lucky to live in SE Asia as travel is quick and at a fairly low cost ..... this allows us to travel more often.  One of our recent trips was to Kota Kinabalu in Borneo.

While we were there we did a day trip on the North Borneo Railway to Papar and back, not just any train trip either ... this was a steam train trip!  The North Borneo Railway Steam train started up again in July of this year and I hope it continues to run for many years yet. Traveling on a steam train will be a very new experience for many people and would be quite exciting for children if you were visiting the region as a family.

The two previous blog posts were on waiting at the station and boarding the train ..... this one is of the train journey itself to Papar and what we saw along the way ......

After we left the Tanjung Aru Station and chugged past the market towns of Kinarut and Papar, on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu. The train meandered past beautiful natural areas such as the backyards of small settlements, villages, Chinese temples and churches, mangrove swamps, a tunnel, as well as padi fields and oil plantations. After we enjoyed our light breakfast on board, we took the opportunity to take more photos of the countryside, the homes and all the children that came running out to wave to the train!

As the train pulls out of the Putatan station, the development of Kota Kinabalu begins to slip away. Time and history begin to take over. After Putatan, the train veers into the countryside, away from the modern day trapping of Sabah society. The train hugs the coast of Lokawi Bay and offer passengers an opportunity to take in the picturesque view of the South China Sea.

The train veers again and crosses the Papar River over a steel trestle bridge as Papar town comes into view. A quaint township, Papar is wedged in the valley between the Crocker Range and the coast. Here, everyone is a neighbour and the intimacy is clear with their dispositions and smiles. The local market or Tamu is a reflection of life in Sabah - simple and alive with the sounds and smells of recurrent daily routines.

The train stops at Papar, known as the rice bowl of Sabah for 20 to 30 minutes and allows passengers to disembark and walk around the small town's tamu (market) which sells all sorts of jungle and farm produce. The original route when established by the British ran from Tanjung Aru to Beaufort and the line passed through Kinarut and Papar. The train was also used carrying daily necessities and other products such as rubber sheets, timber, coffee and jungle products to be traded locally or exported to England and elsewhere. 

After the British packed up and left Malaysia the fate of the railway suffered and the steam engines were left to rot at the railway yard. It was during this time that Sutera Harbour Resort and Spa came up with the idea to revive the train service in order to preserve part of the State's heritage. The steam engine was back on track after three years. The train now belongs to the Sabah Railway Department and the resort has the license to sell tours on the train.

We would highly recommend a visit to Kota Kinabalu, it may not have the best white sandy beaches, or the finest resorts and spas, but it certainly has character and charm.  There are a couple of resorts in Kota Kinabalu and another on the near by islands. But if you travel to Kota Kinabalu, do get out and experience the true Borneo, visit the markets, walk to the jetty to see the fishing fleet and yes, take a nostalgic ride on the steam train if you can!

For information on our recent visit to Kota Kinabalu, do read the blog posts listed below.

There has been much to document about the journey and am happy if you have got this far!! But please stay with us as we travel Papar and 'experience' the railway turntable.
 A railway turntable is a large circular platform which is used to turn locomotives and other rolling stock for railways. A well-engineered turntable is designed in such a way that the efforts of only two or three people are needed to operate the turntable, even when dealing with very large and heavy locomotives. A related railroad term is “wye,” a term used to describe a special configuration of track which essentially allows trains to make really big three point turns so that they can turn to face the direction they came from.

North Borneo Railway information:


my previous blog posts on Kota Kinabalu are here:




stay tuned for further blog posts on the train journey we experienced in Borneo!

all aboard!!

The North Borneo Railway journey was just fabulous and we would do it again in a heart beat. We were lucky we were in Kota Kinabalu (Borneo) on the day the steam train was making its journey to Papar.

You can read the previous blog post on the 
North Borneo Railway HERE

Once we boarded the train, we found our seats and noticed the tables were already set for a light breakfast. It was all very 'old style British' and even the staff were dressed to suit the occasion.  As we left the station the staff came around with tea, coffee, croissants, pastries etc.

The train journey began from the Tanjung Aru station and chugged past the market towns of Kinarut and Papar, on the outskirts of Kota Kinabalu. The train meandered past beautiful natural areas such as the backyards of small settlements, villages, Chinese temples and churches, mangrove swamps, a tunnel, as well as padi fields and oil plantations. 

The train journey gives visitors a wonderful glimpse into a bygone era. On our return journey back to Tanjung Aru station, a tiffin style lunch lunch of assorted savory pastries, fried chicken, sandwiches and dim sum along with lemonade was served to the passengers.

The whole experience was just amazing.

there is much to document about the journey, so please stay with us as we travel on the steam train to Papar in Borneo......

North Borneo Railway information:

my previous blog posts on Kota Kinabalu are here:



stay tuned for further blog posts on the train journey we experienced in Borneo!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

waiting at the station - Kota Kinabalu

In September I uploaded a blog post titled:

The blog post It is all about The North Borneo Railway that runs 36 miles between Kota Kinabalu, the state capital of Sabah, and Papar, an agricultural town, known as the rice bowl of Sabah.
 We were going to be staying in Kota Kinabalu for a few days and we were lucky that our visit coincided with one of the train journeys.

I was super excited to be able to travel on a steam train! 
A steam locomotive is a railway locomotive that produces its power through a steam engine. These locomotives are fueled by burning some combustible material, usually coal, wood or oil, to produce steam in a boiler, which drives the steam engine. Both fuel and water supplies are carried with the locomotive, either on the locomotive itself or in wagons pulled behind.

Steam locomotives were first developed in Britain and dominated railway transportation until the middle of the 20th century. From the early 1900s they were gradually superseded by electric and diesel locomotives.

We had pre booked our train tickets before departing Singapore and it was just as well, because once we arrived in Kota Kinabalu not one ticket was available for purchase!

We arrived at the station one hour before departure which was more than enough time to wander along the station, read about the history, take photos, listen to the music and generally get hyped up about the forthcoming journey!
Then it was time to ring the bell, stamp the ticket and board the train ..... wahooooooo!!

North Borneo Railway is the oldest running steam train in Sabah and Borneo. The nostalgic romance of an old steam train relives memories of a bygone era. Passing through villages and coastal towns, paddy fields, rainforests and plantations of rubber and coffee, a ride on North Borneo Railway is truly a journey of rediscovery into the heart of Borneo. 

Their website says:

Take a journey back into the colonial days of British North Borneo on board the North Borneo Railway, a project operated by Sutera Harbour. Regular steam train journeys are offered every Wednesday and Saturday and depart from the Kota Kinabalu Railway Station. The ride in the colonial wagons, pulled by a newly renovated Vulcan steam engine takes 3 hours and 30 minutes, and packages include refreshments, food and beverages. The train stops at Papar for a visit to the local market.
 PS: for those that know my family, will know that we have always been 'involved' at some stage in with steam trains. Be it sitting on the fence waving as they travel past, riding in and on them where possible and in particular our mother who was heavily involved in the Mornington Railway Preservation Society  (Victoria, Australia) for many years. Its such a shame their WEBSITE does not carry any images of the actual preservation of the K-163.

Please stay with us for further blog posts on the train journey in Borneo.


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The Festival of Lights!!

Diwali or Deepavali, popularly known as the Festival of Lights, marks the beginning of the Hindu New Year according to the Lunar Calendar. Hindus all over the world would celebrate the victory of good over evil or light over darkness, in which oil lamps are lit to thank the Gods for the happiness, knowledge, health and wealth received in their households.

Its all about the lights ... the bright lights are everywhere, as are the people!!

In Singapore, houses are thoroughly cleaned and new clothes are bought during this season.  Temples such as Sri Veeramakaliamman, Sri Vadapathira Kaliamman and Sri Srinivasa Perumal and streets in Little India are lit with a spectacular and dazzling array of display lights to welcome one and all. 
Since September 23rd the "Lights Up" have been seen in Racecourse and Serangoon Roads as well as many of the side streets .... it has been a month of colour, lights, people, food and all the festivities that goes with Deepavali.
Tonight is the countdown.

From 9:00pm tonight the Deepavali Countdown Concert is a spectacular open-air concert on Racecourse Road they count down to the season’s closing. 
Last night we went walking down in the Little India area of Singapore with two of our friends and it was quite crowded, tonight the crowds are expected to double.
  Traditionally celebrated by Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs and Jains during the period after the monsoon season, Deepavali is one of the brightest, most vibrant festivals in our city. While it started out as a one-day tradition (the official day is 26 October this year), celebrations now take up two weeks.

The Little India area of Singapore is one of my favourite areas here ..... I like nothing better than to explore the side streets, eat the food and talk with the locals.
Happy Diwali to my friends!

Walking the boardwalk - after the sun goes down!

Sentosa Boardwalk 
from Sentosa Island to Vivo City, Singapore

Walking the boardwalk will not be an issue if it is hot and sunny or even raining as the canopies are all covered! There are five two-way travellators for your convenience as well as food outlets and shopping retail outlets too! This certainly is a great way to reach Sentosa!

Read the previous blog post on our walk from Sentosa to the boardwalk HERE.
We were lucky when we decided to walk one evening from Silosa Beach to HarbourFront and it was just delightful ..... no crowds, no heat, no sun!

Guests are encouraged to leave their cars behind on mainland Singapore and take the MRT to HarbourFront station at VivoCity Shopping Mall, before making their way to the Sentosa Boardwalk. 
Running parallel to Sentosa’s vehicular bridge, the Sentosa Boardwalk provides guests with an experiential walk amid lush landscapes. It is the only garden-themed boardwalk in South-East Asia, and features five tropical landscapes that are indigenous to Singapore. 

Overlooking the bay, the Sentosa Boardwalk boasts extensive vantage lookout points for guests to enjoy the sunset, arrival of cruise liners from the sea and outdoor performances.

The $70-million boardwalk from VivoCity to Sentosa features "five different themed gardens, from mangrove, rock garden, terrain and hill, coastal flora and rainforest."

it's very different during the day too, you may not wish to walk the boardwalk then spend all day wandering around Sentosa, but you could easily walk the boardwalk, spend the day by the beach then take the monorail back.  The boardwalk could just be your destination too, use the walk to explore the dining facilities that are available as well as the shopping, or sit and watch the ferries coming into HarbourFront.

whatever you do - enjoy!

the following are some helpful links: