Newspaper Reports


These  reports have been transcribed from archive copies of the old newspapers. I have put them into chronological order but some transcriptions will only contain relevant data while others may be complete. Clicking on the newspaper page number links will bring up a copy of the original article. Please note that place name and other spellings/words are as used over 100 years ago and may differ somewhat from those in use today.


From the Straits Times Weekly Issue, 28 February 1887, Page 6.


The Selangor Government Railway.

(S. T. February 23.)

            It is now but little more than four months ago since we published our first account of the Selangor Government Railway. It is evidently too early to do much more than to report the progress which has been made during this brief period. This, however, permits of a number of facts being grouped together which throw considerable light on the future prospects of the railway. It is very gratifying to find that the permanent way has withstood the heavy and continuous downpours of the rainy season so well; the banks, bridges, drainage outfalls and other works have all been found equal to the severe strain to which they have been subjected and there have been no bad slips in the cuttings; the “No. 57” bank alone maintains its unenviable reputation as an insatiable devourer of earth-work, and promises to give some trouble yet before it ceases to subside. We thing that there can be no further question about the track being a good one and that the contractors have done their work well. We should say that the traffic returns may be considered very satisfactory, as they average something like $2,000 per week, an income which not only pays all working expenses but which also leaves a margin for the payment of interest, results which are seldom attained at such an early stage of a railways existence, and which are truly marvellous when it is considered that the lower terminus is still situated at the place called Bukit Kudah, than which a more disreputable third rate mud-bank does not exist. The railway has made its influence felt in a very marked degree at Kwala Lumpur, where the railway station is now the centre of a busy and animated scene, crowded with passengers and encumbered with goods of all descriptions; the town itself is being rapidly improved and is already responding to the impetus brought to bear on its commercial life by the new railway. The sanguine anticipations of our special correspondent’s article of last October concerning the development of the country adjacent to the railway are in a fair way to be realised. The “Selangor Pepper Company” has been formed in Singapore with a considerable capital and with some very influential men on the directorate, to open up a large tract of land lying on both sides of the railway in order to grow pepper on a large scale. It is a most promising enterprise and one which will probably lead the way for other ventures of similar description. It must be distinctly understood however that this notable progress which it is so pleasant to record has developed itself in the face of a great deal of mismanagement, much of which might have been easily avoided, which was foreshadowed in the original article in the Straits Times on the subject. It is well known that Mr. Spence Moss, the engineer who mainly planned and constructed the line, was subsequently appointed the Resident Engineer of the Selangor Government Railway, an appointment fully justified by his previous successes and at which few men would cavil; but it must at once strike the most careless observer that if ever a man was called upon to devote all his energies to one object, it is the Resident Engineer of this infant railway which has yet to be carefully nursed in order that it may survive the difficulties which beset it on every side. It is astonishing therefore to find Mr. Spence Moss engaged on various works wholly incompatible with his duties as a Resident Engineer, in fact he appears to be employed on anything except the railway. In the first place, we find the Resident Engineer acting in the character of his own contractor, a great mistake to begin with, for, while he is an especially capable engineer, he does not particularly shine as a purveyor of labour and material, and work of this kind is much better left to contractors who are especially qualified to bring it to a speedy and successful conclusion. Mr. Spence Moss next figures as a surveyor, and we finally hear of his being engaged in carrying telegraph lines across the country miles and miles away from the railway of which he is the titular Resident Engineer. It must be fairly asked where does he reside? and of what is he the engineer? Now when it is remembered that the European staff of the Selangor Government Railway is a very small one, and that there is really not a soul to replace the Resident Engineer during his excursions in connection with telegraphy, it is no wonder that trains derail, and have been known to come in seven or eight hours late, and it may here be pointed out with advantage that a delay of eight or even seven hours on a run of nineteen and a half miles is rather “fine and large” to quote a popular modern classic, and even the amiable native of Selangor may some day be smitten with the great idea that were it not for the style of the thing he might just as well have walked. We are fully aware that it is more than likely that the Resident Engineer is being employed in various pursuits foreign to his much neglected department, greatly against his better judgement, and that he is not to be personally blamed in this matter, but it is only too clear that the railway is being very badly managed and that the responsible authorities should give their most serious attention to the present state of affairs. It is disappointing to find no visible indications of a move being made in the direction of a construction of a line beyond Bukit Kudah, the extension of one mile and three quarters necessary to bring the railway to a point opposite Klang. This extension may possibly be a mistake in theory, but if so, we venture to say, it is a mistake which would pay very handsomely for itself in an incredibly short space of time, and had better be committed as soon as possible. If this were once done, the scheme of a bridge across the river or the project of a line to the coast, might be deliberated upon with the leisure which such weighty conceptions demand. It is evident, however, that the Selangor Government Railway is gifted with a sturdy and robust constitution, which promises a healthy and rapid growth in spite of the malign influences to which all young railways are peculiarly subject; it has stood the test of the heavy rains exceedingly well, its traffic returns are much better than the line had any right to earn under its present management; and it is stimulating the progress and development of the country to a very marked extent. The Selangor Government Railway has done much good work in a very short time, and only a reasonable amount of care is required to make it a complete and permanent success.



From the Straits Times Weekly Issue, 28 March 1887, Page 3.


The Selangor Railway


            It is with much regret that we have to report a fatal accident which has just occurred on the Selangor Government Railway. It appears that as a good train was nearing Batu Tiga the engine was driven on one line of rails, while the cars, owing to some carelessness at the points were run on to another set of rails. The result was a general upset which caused the death of three natives and injuries of five others. It is most fortunate that the train was not crowded with passengers. This most unfortunate accident seems to confirm our remarks regarding the general management of this railway, which in its present state most undoubtedly requires the most vigilant supervision exercised by a staff sufficiently numerous to discharge the duties imposed upon them.



The Straits Times Weekly Issue, 4th May 1887, Page 6


This article makes a handful of passing mentions of the railway but no details.


From the Straits Times Weekly Issue, 17 August 1887, Page 12.


Penang News

                        Penang Gazette, 9th August

            There seems to be a very general opinion in Selangor that the Government Railway there is not safe for traffic. As reported in the Penang Gazette of the 2nd instant, a train recently ran off the line. The fireman was killed and the driver seriously injured. This has caused much unfavourable comment in Selangor, and the Government are held to blame for the accident. They should at once call an experienced and capable engineer from Singapore to inspect the line, and state whether it is safe or not. Until they do so, people will have no confidence, and should any more accidents occur they will be laid at the door of the Government.


A series of articles were published in the Straits Times of 29th August 1889 and repeated in the Straits Times Weekly the following day.


The Selangor Railway

(Straits Times August 29.)



The account which we publish of the ceremonies attending the formal beginning of the Selangor Railway Extension Contract will draw attention to what is sure to be a great factor in the increasing prosperity of the State of Selangor and its immediate neighbours. The new contract is for the extension of the existing railway which runs from the port of Klang inland to the town of Kuala Lumpur. The present railway has been an immediate and great financial success, paying as it does 28 per cent on the capital outlay, while as a means of developing the State, it has been still more effectual. This will be seen at a glance when we point out that the superseded river route for goods up or down took about a week, whereas now there are several goods trains a day between the town and the port, covering the distance in an hour or two, and at a fraction of the former cost. But it scarcely needs at this time to sound the praises of a railway, which, indeed, was supported from the first, and whose opening a few years ago was described at length in our columns. The present point for discussion is the extension which is to run inlands and upwards for a distance of about twenty miles, carrying the iron road to Ulu Selangor, at a point near the Rawang mines: and here it must be noticed as an instance of the irony of events that the Rawang Mining Company appears likely to break down at the very time when we are chronicling the beginning of a railroad which would certainly cheapen the working of the mine and make it much more easy of access and supervision. As concerns the prospects of the railway, however, the success or failure of the Rawang Mining Company is immaterial. No doubt the traffic to and from these mines has entered into the calculations of the railway engineer, but if the mines are not worked by European they will be worked by Chinese, who will be quite as willing to use the iron road.

Perhaps, however, the brightest immediate prospects and the greatest immediate usefulness of the Selangor Railway Extension will arise from the facilities of access which it will help to give to Pahang and from the considerable Pahang traffic which will flow over it. In such circumstances, indeed, it can only be considered as itself the forerunner of another extension. Nor is it a possible to pass away from these matters without noting the prospects of the private adventure railway now being pushed on in Sungei Ujong, and which also is likely, so soon as completed, to be the subject of extension inlands and towards Pahang. In a different connections there comes up the proposed considerable  increase of Perak railways, for although these lines have little bearing on the situation in Selangor, they are to be built and managed under the care of Mr. Spence Moss, who has been so successful with the Selangor line. In a word, the railway system of the Malay Peninsula is only beginning, and we may fairly surmise that during the remaining years of the century these lands will give ever-growing employment to the skill of railway engineers and to the capacity of railway contractors, and that by the extension of railways the development of the Peninsula will be ensured and quickened.

With a view of showing how these railways may be welded into each other, and how they may be made to form part of a great whole, we publish with satisfaction an excellent map, although in doing so we regret that the minute and laborious skill of the original can only be roughly indicated in the stress of newspaper printing. Nevertheless, the map is there, and will give much information to those who may take the trouble to study it. The idea is that the present Selangor Extension is not a branch: it is, or it may become, a twenty-mile section of the main line which will ultimately connect Singapore with India, while the Selangor railway now working may in its turn become simply  a branch from the main line to the port of Klang. We do not here propose to expand that idea which is discussed in another column by the special correspondent who acted for us at the "cutting of the sod", and the lines now constructed, and under construction, need not be regarded as isolated adventures, but may which is also briefly explained in the note at the foot of the map.  It is sufficient in this place to enforce the fact that that the line now constructed, and under construction, need not be regarded as isolated adventures, but may be made, and ought to be made, part of a great whole: and that with sufficient resolution and foresight we may bind together with iron bands three of the greatest possessions of the Imperial Crown, so that on English railways under the English flag, the Englishman may journey from the heart of India to the distant island where Singapore commands the highways of the Eastern seas.




The Selangor Function

(By our Special Correspondent)

The Voyage Up

Having been honoured with an invitation from Messrs. Campbell & Co. to be present at the ceremony of cutting the First Sod of the Ulu Selangor Extension of the Selangor government Railway by the Hon. W. E. Maxwell, C.M.G., at Kuala Lumpur on Monday, the 26th inst., I betook myself and baggage to the s. s. Sappho on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. On arrival on board I found to my delight a large party of Singapore friends, including several ladies, as also a contingent of 26 Bandsmen of the 58th Regiment, the latter of whom had been specially engaged by Messrs. Campbell & Co. to play at the ceremony referred to. At 4.30 p.m. the s. s. Sappho weighed anchor, and shortly after we were treated to an overture in the shape of the old familiar "dua a’tengah," in which we drank success to the Selangor trip. Previous to dinner, some speculation was indulged in as to how 31 people were to dine in a saloon capable of accommodating only 16, but the problem was found very easily and satisfactorily solved by the erection on two plank tables on trestles outside the saloon on each side. The entire arrangements in fact made by the genial commander, Captain Wahl, and the enterprising owners of the Sappho for the comfort and convenience of our large party could not possibly have been surpassed, and though it was of course impracticable to find cabin accommodation for every one, there were plenty of mattresses and pillows.

On emerging from the saloon after an excellent dinner, the band, which had taken up its station on the aft hatchway close by, struck up that stirring march "True till Death," an air which, I may mention, afterwards became a strikingly prominent feature of our festive trip, as a select choir which was formed later in the morning treated us to its inspiriting strains on every occasion when not otherwise engaged. The march was followed by such well known favourites at the "Overture from Tancredi", the Valse "Maid of the Mill” and a selection from “Dorothy” interspersed by three glees – “Ye shepherds fill me”  "Flowers of the forest” and “Old John” all of which were excellently rendered by the Bandsmen.

Unfortunately, just as the Band had got fairly into the swing of that charming valse "Fantaisie," the rain came down in torrents, compelling every one to fly for shelter. An adjournment was accordingly made to the saloon, and on the retirement of the ladies the musical fever which had already set in was stimulated by the appearance on the scene of that accomplished performer, Mr. Bob "Flirtwell" with his banjo. I am afraid to state to what hour in the evening or rather morning (Sunday morning) the music was prolonged, the principal vocalists being supported at intervals by various stragglers who, cabinless and berthless had been endeavouring to make their bed in different parts of the ship, indeed one gallant son of Mars was currently reported to have sought repose during the earlier hours of the evening in the bath for want of better accommodation, but, probably finding his temporary quarters somewhat damp, he eventually put in an appearance and declared his intention of "not going home till morning." Malacca was reached about 4 a.m. and as our accomplished banjo performer was soon after interviewed by several distinguished visitors who came to discuss with him certain affairs of State connected with "the sleepy hollow," any further sleep was out of the question.

After a very brief stay we proceeded to our voyage, the next feature of intent being the coffee and toast and bath parade from 5 to 6 a.m. Sunday forenoon was passed in sober reflection on the desirability of keeping late hours in a climate such as ours, and shortly after tiffin the Sappho entered the Klang river. The run up the river was exceedingly enjoyable and interesting, but as it is well known to many of your readers, and has been frequently described in your columns it is unnecessary for me to refer to it here.

We arrived at Bukit Kuda about 3 p.m. and on getting alongside the landing stage, found the Resident (Mr. Maxwell), the Chief Magistrate (Mr. Belfield), and the Government Railway Engineer (Mr. Spence Moss) awaiting with a small number of the Selangor Malay Police being also in attendance.

The appearance of these policemen in their smart uniform of dark blue with armlet facings and white gaiters compare most favourably with our Singapore native mata-mata. The number of natives assembled appeared to be considerably surprised and impressed by the lively strain of the "Boulanger March" which was rendered by the Band in its very best style during the process of berthing the steamer. Having once more set foot on terra firma and seen the baggage safely landed including some huge cases of ice which received the most tender care, being destined to form no unimportant factor in the subsequent proceedings, we were forthwith conducted to the "special" train in waiting. The run to Kuala Lumpur about 20 miles, was accomplished in 39 minutes and to one like myself, who has not set foot in a train since leaving the old country many years ago, was especially enjoyable, recalling as it did many pleasing recollections of good times gone to return alas! no more.

We arrived at our destination shortly after 4 p.m. where we were greeted by numerous kind friends who had come to offer us shelter under their hospitable roofs, and before long our large party was disbanded and scattered all over Selangor. A drive through part of the town and a visit to the Selangor Club, followed by a quiet dinner, completed the day's programme. A good night's rest and a drive next morning to the Botanic Gardens which are exceedingly pretty and well repay a visit, put me in excellent humour with myself and the world in general and in due time I repaired to the scene of the all-important ceremony.


The Ceremony of Cutting the Sod

The Luncheon

Monday 26th August – For these functions our gracious hosts the contractors had erected a large shed at the far side of the esplanade partitioned off at each end into two smaller compartments, the one being set apart for the reception of guests and the ceremony itself, the other for the boys and necessary adjuncts to the tiffin, the luncheon table being laid in the centre division of the shed. Outside the attap shed a guard of honour xx of the Selangor Sikh Police under the command of Superintendent Sykes was stationed, the Band of the 58th regiment taking up their positions at the rear. On the arrival of the Resident on the ground at 1.15 p.m., he was received by the contractors, Messrs. Murray Campbell and Fowke, with the customary salute from the guard, the Band playing.


Mr. Campbell asked the Resident to do the contractors the honour of cutting the first sod of the Ulu Selangor Extension for them, and on his consenting to do so, said it was customary for the contractors to supply the tools. He then handed the Resident a silver chankol, and the sod having been duly cut, was placed in baskets carried by Mrs. Campbell and Mrs. Fowke and removed. The chankol, which bears the following inscription, was designed by Mr. Spence Moss:-


With this Changkol

The 1st Sod

of the

Ulu Selangor Extension

was cut by

W. E. Maxwell, Esq., C. M. G.,

British Resident at Kuala Lumpur,

H. H. Abdul Samad, K.O.M.G., Sultan

W. E. Maxwell, C. M. G., Resident,

Sir C. H. Gregory, K.C.M.G., Consulting Engineer,

A. Spence Moss, M.I.C.E. Govt. Engineer

Messrs. Campbell and Co., Contractors


Mr. Campbell next asked Mr. Spence Moss, the Government Railway Engineer, if the work was well and properly done in accordance with the specification, and received a reply in the affirmative. A photograph of the company assembled was then taken, and on its completion an adjournment was made to luncheon.  The luncheon table presented a gay and striking appearance, being decorated throughout its entire length in the Selangor colours, red and yellow, the yellow alamander and scarlet hibiscus flowers coming in most appropriately for this purpose. I need scarcely say that full justice was done to the excellent tiffin provided, of which I forward a menu. During the whole of luncheon the Band favoured us with some charming music, and advantage was taken, of the brief intervals between the courses to propose the various toasts, of which there were no fewer than eight. The toast of the Queen was proposed by Mr. Murray Campbell, and was followed shortly after by that of the Sultan of Selangor, proposed by Mr. Fowke. The next toast was that of the Resident, and Mr. Campbell, in proposing it, said:

Ladies and Gentlemen, - I have very much pleasure in rising to ask you to join me in drinking the health of the Resident. In his official capacity he is as yet a stranger amongst us, but socially, we all feel as if he had been with us for years. Standing in his presence it would be unbecoming if I were to indulge is say more remarks about him except to thank him most heartily on behalf of the contractors for so kindly lending us a helping hand with this work, and to ask him to do us the honour to accept this silver chankol which Mr. Spence Moss was good enough to design and get made for us. I trust it may prove a more lasting memorial, of which we hope it as pleasant in incident in his life as it is in ours, than any words which I might now say could possibly be.

The Resident, in replying, returned thanks for this kind manner in which the toast had been received, and said, -

As he was quite a new comer among them, he could not be expected to say much about the State of Selangor, which was to him virtually a new country. During the courses of his service under Government, he had however frequently heard distinguished officers among our French and Dutch neighbours express their high admiration at the position held by our Colonies in this part of the world and the successful results of British administration. Here we practically govern three-fourths of the whole peninsula without the employment of a single soldier or sailor. The principle which had led to these successful results was that of the equality of all races before the law, and he need scarcely assure those present that such principles would always be consistently upheld by him


Mr. Campbell, in proposing success to the Selangor Railway, coupled with the name of Sir Charles Hutton Gregory (the Consulting Engineer in England) and Mr. Spence Moss, said:-

Ladies and Gentlemen - Apart from the pleasure a contractor always has in proposing the health of the engineer under whom he may have to carry out work. I have a special pleasure in proposing this toast because of the two names with which it is coupled. Under Sir Charles Hutton Gregory I have been carrying out works far longer than I care to say, and I am very proud to be possessed of his friendship and good wishes, and I know that he is not displeased, that this work has fallen into our hands. Mr. Spence Moss is an old friend on whose invitation I came here, though perhaps my not coming would have been no one's loss but my own. At a time like this, and perhaps during the construction of the line, the contractors are more in evidence than the Engineers, just as at a Marionette Show, the figures on the stage are more in evidence than the hand behind pulling the threads, but if there were no pulling of the threads, the puppets would make but a poor show. You came over a line yesterday at express speed, which will compare more than favourably with any narrow gauge line in existence and, as far as paying goes, far exceeds any other line in the Queen's dominions. The line during the last year paid 25 per cent, and was worked without a single accident which, to those who know, proves economy in construction and efficiency in management. About the extension I shall for obvious reasons leave others to speak, but I would like to say a word about a new departure which has been made in Selangor for the matter of opening up the country. In other Colonies roads are made as roads, while here, trunk roads have no objective beyond cart traffic, but here roads are now to be made on surveys for a railway, so that should a railway be afterwards made all that will have to be done will be to improve the curves and lay down the rails. The advantage of this will be apparent even to layman. The extra cost of double surveys is avoided, 75% of the conversion for the road will come in for the railway, and the transport facilities will make the cost of construction much less. The initiation of this policy you owe to Mr. Spence Moss.


Mr. Spence Moss, in replying said: -

Ladies and Gentlemen, - I thank you very heartily on behalf of my colleagues and myself for the kind manner in which you have received the last toast. I allude to my colleagues like the old man servant in the "Bride of Lammermoor," for though I haven't any at present, I don't like to expose the poverty of the Government. It is a matter of very deep regret to me that two of the gentlemen who were to have assisted me in this work are absent today. Mr. Law and Mr. Chandler, both of whom have had to leave the country through ill-health caused by our baneful climate. I regret also that our former Resident, Mr. Swettenham, who has done so much to bring railway matters to a head in the peninsula as well as this State, cannot be here as a guest today. From these regrets it is a relief to turn to the pleasure we all feel in welcoming here today our ex-queen, Mrs. Swettenham. I think I may eliminate x, a letter very little used, and about the last to be applied here, for her kingdom (if I may r se to Irish) is one which no change or promotion can affect.

After all the pretty things Mr. Murray Campbell has said of me, I feel beggared of expressions with which to return his good will. Mr. Campbell came into this country at my invitation and to my great relief, as his immortal clansmen came to the relief of another place, and I sincerely hope he will find his Lucknow in Selangor.

Whatever he has got, or rather whatever he may get, will be by his own honest hard work, backed by skill and experience. He has had a fair field and no favour. When I first met him 8 years ago in another colony, he was a gay bachelor - a very gay bachelor - and this renewal of our former friendship is made doubly pleasant by the fact that he is now accompanied by an amiable and accomplished wife. I will not detain you, Ladies and Gentlemen, by any references to our noble profession. There are some who say it is no profession at all. Well I care little about profession myself, being as Mr. Campbell would put it, more inclined to go in for concrete and leave abstract to others. Our business is to do, and not to talk. I may claim, however, that after the medical profession, we do more for the material welfare of our fellow-men than any other.


The Resident (Mr. Maxwell), in proposing the health of the Contractors, said he presumed those present would like to bear something of the history of the Railway, the extension of which they were assembled to celebrate.

The Survey was commenced on the 1st April 1883.

The first sod was cut by Sir F. A. Weld on 23rd July 1883.

The line was opened by Sir F. A. Weld on 15th September 1886.

The receipts for 1887 amounted to $141,486.34,

The receipts for 1888 amounted to $288,890.03, which was equal to 23% on Capital outlay.

The cost of the line was $6,000 per mile, which was very cheap when compared with first lines in other countries. This cheapness was not obtained by the use of bad curves and gradients. On the contrary the works were heavy for a narrow gauge line and the curves and gradients very easy. The result of this liberal policy was that the line was now worked for 32¼% of the gross receipts. The same policy, he need hardly say, would be followed in the extension lines. The survey had now been completed to Serendah and the country beyond known as Kuala Kubu, a distance of 38 miles. The importance of the line had to be considered from three points of view, viz.,

(I)       As portion of the Main peninsular line

(II)      As connecting the Chief Ulu Mining centre with the Capital

(III)    As the outlet of Pahang.

He then wished the Contractor every success in the undertaking on which they had that day embarked.

The toast was most enthusiastically received by the company and suitably acknowledged by Mr. Campbell on behalf of the Contractors.

Mr. Maxwell then briefly proposed "The prosperity of the State" and called upon Mr. West as one of the leading members of the mercantile community, to respond.

Mr. West replied as follows:

Ladies and Gentlemen - I felt it a great honour to have to respond to such an important toast as "Prosperity to Selangor." It is a wish, I can assure you, which all those who have a stake in the country most heartily re-echo. The prosperity of Selangor is so intimately connected with Railway extension that I cannot talk of the one without expatiating largely on the other; therefore I hope it shall not be accused of plagiarism if my remarks bear mostly on the Railway. Considering the purpose for which we are all gathered here today, I feel sure I shall not be travelling beyond the record if I state that my mercantile, mining, and planting brethren both absent and present, are only too delighted to have this opportunity of expressing their great appreciation of this forward move, this march of progress in Railway extension, which today's assembly inaugurates, as it will undoubtedly tend to the further prosperity of Selangor. The advantages which all classes of the community have derived from our first Railway here are so well known, and have been today explained to you by the Resident with most convincing statistics, that I need not dwell further upon them now. My only hope is that this extension , the cutting of the first sod of which we have today witnessed, may in every respect prove as successful as its parent line, so that it may thus warrant its further extension not only to Serendah and Ulu Selangor, as mentioned by Mr. Campbell, but right on into the heart of Pahang or further if possible, with such substantial results as will prove a practical and lasting tribute to those capable officers who first originated the railway, to those who extended and completed it as a perfect scheme, and to those who so ably carried out the work. Leaving aside the political and social advantages of a railway, I may say, speaking from a commercial point of view, that Railway extension, as a matter of course, means facilitated transport: easy transport should naturally mean increased business, and I feel sure that everyone will join with me in hoping that increased business may carry greater prosperity to all of us in equal ratio.


Mr. Fowke then proposed the health of the Visitors and Major Grey, in replying on behalf of the Singapore contingent, stated how deeply indebted they all were to their kind hosts.


The Resident in proposing the concluding toast of "The Ladies," referred to the fact that when he first came to the Native States there were only two ladies in the place he was stationed. When he looked round the table and saw the number of charming ladies resident in Kuala Lumpur, he considered the younger generation had every reason to feel thankful and to congratulate themselves on the changed state of affairs. He regretted that he felt quite unworthy and incapable of doing justice to such an important toast, as he was not himself a ladies' man, and scarcely conversant with their numerous charms and virtues, and he would therefore ask Mr. Keyser to reply.

This modest declaration was received with uproarious shouts of applause, and a charming young Irish lady seated next to me remarked. "Shure he might be Irish himself. Faith what does it matter what a man says of ladies so long as he knows what to say to them," a remark, it is needless to say, I fully concurred in.

Mr. Keyser replied to the toast in an exceedingly happy and amusing speech.

This concluded the toasts, and the company then adjourned.


Luncheon Menu


Soupe a la Tortue


Poisson Belle Vue Thon sauce Blanche


Pate de Foie Gras et Mortadelle

Pate froid a la galee


Dindes Traffes Richelieu.  Piece de boeuf.

Jambon decore au Madere.

"Corned Beef,"  Duchesse.  Pigeon au Petits Pois


Pommes de Terre

Petits pois a l’Anglaise


Gataeau de Savoie, Ponding Royal

Sabayon Glacee a la Vanilla


Fromage de Chester et de Gruyere





After luncheon was over I went off with a large party of friends to the Selangor Club close by, where the Band treated us to the following programme.

The Selection of "Scotch Airs" was most enthusiastically received by the Selangor resident, a number of whom evidently hail from old Scotia.

1. March.............Joyful Peasant

2. Overture..........Guy Mannering

3. Selection..........Maritaus

4. Valse.................Bitter Sweet

5. Selection...........Scotch Airs

6. Valse.................Mikado.


The Ball

The Ball which was given in the evening at the Government offices by our munificent hosts was in every respect an unqualified success. The large hall upstairs was prettily decorated, and dancing, which commenced about 10 p.m. was kept up with undiminished vigour until long past 3 a.m. Shortly after 1 a.m. we had a short interval for supper, to which full justice was done.

The following was the programme of the dance and although 2 extras were added, it was with the greatest reluctance we were compelled at last to tear ourselves away.

1. Quadrille......St. Ronsais

2. Valse.............Mikado

3. Polka.............Living Hearts

4. Lancers...........Mikado

5. Valse...............Myosotis

6. Valse...............Bitter Sweet

7. Polka................Merry Days

8. Valse................Dorothy

9. Valse.................Swinging

10. Lancers............Dorothy

11. Polka...............Black and Tan

12. Valse...............Fantaistie

13. Valse...............Little Sailors

14. Valse................Estudiantina

15. Lancers.............Forty Thieves

16. Valse................Love's Golden Dream

17. Valse................Dream Faces

18. Sir Roger de Coverly.


The Cricket Match

On Tuesday a cricket match was played between the Selangor Cricket Club and the 58th Regiment, which resulted in a win for the Regiment by 6 runs after an uncommonly close and exciting finish. Play was commenced at 8 a.m. and continued, till noon, and after the interval for the tiffin, was resumed at 1.30 p.m. The main feature of the match was the excellent batting of Lieut. Higginbotham, who made 76 not out, and without whom the Regiment would have made but a poor show. I attach a copy of the scores on both sides.


As it occurred to me that a brief description of the extension line sanctioned as well as some information as to the further probable, development of the railway might interest some of year readers, I took advantage of a spare morning to collect all the particulate I could get. Through the courtesy and kind assistance of a friend, I also obtained the map which I now forward, and which affords very valuable information.


Selangor Extension Line

Description of the Extension; The distances to Pahang; Rival routes; The probable Capital of Pahang: Railway Development by private Capital.


The start is from Kuala Lumpur at a point on the main line near the foot of the Hospital Road, which involve moving the passenger station to a site a little further out of town near new High Street, the present passenger station being all required for the rapidly increasingly goods traffic. The sanctioned extension passes round the base of the hill on which the new Residency stands, where a private platform and ornamental pavilion will be provided for the use of the Resident. Passing through cultivated lands, the large mining district of Kepong is reached, where there will be the first station 8 miles from Kuala Lumpur. A road is being constructed to feed the railway.

The line now enters the jungle, and skirting the Dulang Dulang Range, enters the Sungei Bulu Valley, where there will be another station. Sungei Bulu is at present being mined under every disadvantage, there being no means of communication save hill tracks. Kwang is the next station, 14 miles from Kuala Lumpur, at the head of a mining Valley backed by hills which will in a few years be covered with coffee, the soil being rich and other conditions favourable. Between Kwang and the terminus, the water shed is crossed which divides the Valley of the Sungei Selangor from that of the Sungei Bulu and the terminus is reached, 19 miles from Kuala Lumpur, at the former site of Rawang or Banda Kauching.

This is the extent of the line so far sanctioned, but the surveys are completed to Serendah a large and important mining town where 3,000 miners are at present working. It is hoped and expected that the sanction of the Secretary of State will be found to include the Serendah Section. Beyond Serendah the country is easy and fairly open to Kula Kubu, the centre of the Ulu Selangor district, 38 miles from Kuala Lumpur. This is the last place of importance in Selangor in the direction of Pahang, and when connected with Klang by railway, will be the base for supplies for Raub, Punjom and Bentong, in fact the whole of Ulu Pahang. Surveys have been sanctioned for a cart road half way to the Pahang boundary, to be so constructed that a line of rails can afterwards be laid down on it. The distance from Kuala Lumpur to the Pahang Boundary is 22½ miles, from the boundary to Tras is 6N miles, from Tras to Raub 8 miles, from Raub to Punjom about 20 miles. The Selangor side of the Range has been prospected by the Government Engineer, and there are no obstacles to railway extension into Pahang excepting the usual obstacles of want of funds. The objects originally in view when the Selangor Government first entered on the construction of Railways were chiefly two, viz.:

1.   The improvement of communication between the mining districts and the coast.

2.  The relief of Pahang whose Eastern littoral is inaccessible during five months of the North-East monsoon. The first of these objects will be accomplished when the Ulu Selangor Extension is completed, and the 2nd remains to be affected either by a concession to the Mining Companies interested, or by the joint action of the two Governments.

The main line of the Selangor Government Railway is now paying 25% upon the gross capital, although with its terminus at Kuala Lumpur it obtains no portion of the Pahang trade. There are several rival routes from the protected Native States to Pahang, viz.,  

1.         Up the Muar Valley through Sri Menanti. 

2.         Through Sungei Ujong, (the Bukit Putus and Bukit Tengah routes) 

3.         Through Selangor. (the Ginting Bidei, the Ulu Gomba, and Ulu Selangor routes) 

4.         Through Perak.

Pahang cannot be satisfactorily opened from any one point, and there will undoubtedly the traffic enough for three or four of these outlets when once the immense mineral wealth is properly developed. The ordinary route to Bentong is over the range through Kuala Lumpur, 39 miles' march. There is however a fine open Valley between Bentong and Tras through which a cart road should be made without delay. A good deal of speculation and doubt at present exists as to where the centre of Ulu Pahang will be permanently established. The intention of the Government is to divide Pahang into four districts, but it is inevitable that some administrative and commercial centre should be fixed upon as early as possible to prevent subsequent waste, for all wild speculation in waste, loss of time, and dissipation of governing energy. Report has it that Kuala Lipis will be the centre, and no doubt this would suit our Punjom friends very well, as it is but a few miles from their mines. Geographical consideration however point to Kuala Sementan as the true centre of the upper provinces of Pahang, and unless the physical conditions are insurmountable, the terminus for the time being of the Government or other railway should be at Kuala Sementan.

It is an open secret that several private parties are able and willing to carry on the railway from Ulu Selangor into Pahang under joint guarantee of the Selangor and Pahang Government at a low rate of interest say 4 per cent on an approved scale of estimates. However objectionable Railway concessions may be in British territory, there is not the same objection to them in a protected Native State. It may suit the financial circumstances of a new country with its roads, telegraphs and other humbler means of communication all to make, to encourage, and even tempt outside parties to come in with capital and anticipate matters by the rapid construction of pioneer railways, but in every case provision should be made for the resumption by Government of all main lines of communication.

The notice which Pahang has attracted for some time in the London financial world would enable the capital for such a railway to be raised without difficulty, while the more fact of a Government guarantee would react favourably on all the Pahang companies by declaring, as it were, the government connection with the fortunes of mining. Enough has been said to explain the importance of the contemplated operations in Selangor to our Singapore readers; the policy of Colonial Governors is not as a rule swayed by newspaper articles. At the same time it is the duty of an independent press to give expression to intelligent local opinion without regard to the fact whether or not such opinions may be acceptable to the authorities. To sum up the whole position, His Excellency is not to be rushed, but he may be menagé.


The Return Home

Our special correspondent, after describing the return journey (but for that will have no space) says:

By 3 p.m. on Wednesday we were off the entrance to New Harbour, and by 4 we were landed at Johnston's Pier.

So ended one of the most successful and thoroughly enjoyable trips it has ever been my luck to make. The great kindness and hospitality of our Selangor friends will not readily be forgotten, and I sincerely trust that when the Xmas holidays come round we may be afforded an opportunity of meeting them in Singapore.



Reminiscences of the opening of the Selangor Railway

(From the Straits Times of Sept. 15, 1886)

The opening of the Selangor government Railway, which takes place today, is an event which should not be allowed to pass without remark. It will indeed be the greatest event which has yet occurred to mark the advances of British prestige in the native protected States, and will clearly indicate to the native mind the advantage to be gained from a well ordered system of Government having in view the development of the internal resources of the country. A scheme carefully planned, and, under many difficult condition, creditably worked out, deserves more than a passing reference, and we augur for Selangor a yet prosperous future which a large and increasing population, attracted thither by the facilities of communication and transport, must needs bring about. The construction of this line of railway must also be regarded from a political aspect as a distinct point gained. It is the greatest length of line yet laid in the S. E. portion of the peninsula, and is in touch with the very backbone of it. A few miles' extension would bring it within the boundaries of Pahang, while on either side it could be taken on to Perak and Sungei Ujong, keeping well up towards the sources of the large rivers which could be easily bridged. It forms a base of operation so to say, which in the near or distant future will be of incalculable advantage to me. Meantime it tends to raise the value and importance of the Native States, and particularly of Selangor.

 (From the special correspondence of the Straits Times dated 15th and 16th September, 1886.)

A saloon car was in readiness for His Excellency the Governor and Lady Weld, His Highness the Sultan of Selangor, the British Resident and others of the principal visitors and officials. The first class carriages were occupied by guests who had been invited for the occasion, and the compartments of the second and third classes were filled with natives, nearly all of them being the Sultan's attendants: there were about one hundred and thirty passengers altogether by the first train ever run on the Selangor Government Railway. It started at twenty minutes to ten, and at a quarter past eleven the train steamed into Kuala Lumpur station, the run of about twenty miles having been done in ninety-five minutes. The speed of the train varied greatly as the lower end of the line is not yet ballasted, and over this particular section it travelled at a very moderate rate, and evidently no small care was exercised in the handling of a train in which Sir Frederick Weld and the Sultan of Selangor were seated, but as we neared Kuala Lumpur the speed was greatly accelerated, and we were then going at about thirty miles an hour.

 After a short and pleasant run the train arrived at the terminal station at Kuala Lumpur, where some of the principal residents, including a number of ladies, were waiting to receive the Governor, Lady Weld and the Misses Weld and the Sultan. Among the ladies were Mrs. Venning, Mrs. Spence Moss, Mrs. Belfield and Mrs Bellamy. The station was beautifully decorated, and a guard of honour commanded by Mr. H. C. Syers, the Superintendent of the Selangor Police Force, was in attendance. On the platform of the station Mr. Rodger, the Acting Resident of the State of Selangor, addressed His Excellency the Governor in a speech full of interest , which runs as follows:-

Your Excellency, Your Highness, Ladies and Gentlemen, - In kindly consenting to open this Railway, your Excellency is putting the finishing touch to a work commenced under your auspices three years ago. There is one person who was present when the first sod was turned, whose absence I greatly regret today, I mean Mr. Swettenham, the British Resident of Selangor. It was I believe, Mr. Swettenham who first prominently brought under your Excellency's notice the desirability of construction a line of railway between Klang and Kuala Lumpur, and subsequently, in a series of admirable lucid reports, he so thoroughly elaborated the whole scheme that his locum tenens had merely to continue working on the lines which Mr. Swettenham had no clearly laid down. Apart from the initiation of the scheme, the credit of practically carrying it out belongs to Mr. Spence Moss, the Government Railway Engineer, who, from the first, has had entire charge of this work, who surveyed and laid out the line, and has carried it forward to completion with very marked energy and ability.

 During the afternoon of Thursday the 16th September the investiture of His Highness Abdul Samat bin Abmerhom Raja Abdullah, Sultan of Selangor, with the insignias of a Knight of the Order of St. Michael and St. George, took place in the upper room of the Public Offices. The building was decorated and His Highness was seated on a dais raised on three steps, surrounded by the principal Rajas of the State, his sword bearer and eight spear bearers, some of whom distinguished themselves in their younger days by their determined resistance to our forces at Kuala Selangor.

 As we descended the slope of the hill amidst the smoke of the guns, we heard the shriek of a railway engine and beheld that most refreshing sight, a man running at breakneck speed to catch the evening train: the gentleman in question was loudly cheered by a small group of admiring friends.


From the Straits Times Weekly Issue, 15 October 1889, page 14. 

Selangor Notes

                        Kuala Lumpur, 10th Oct.

            The iron infant, that is to be, is making growth, and the course of the new railway is outlined, in cuttings and earth-heaps, by coolie-gangs and trolley-lines for four miles or so over the face of the country on the way to Rawang. The contractors, owing to the want of a good spell of dry weather, have not been able to clear jungle rapidly by firing. Nevertheless, thirty thousand cubic yards of earth have been already removed. The coolies, of whom four to five thousand are employed, are in good health, and the contractors seem to be satisfied with the progress being made. Discomforts are inevitable in the train of works like these, and the absorption of half the roadway, where the new line approaches the old one, is a preliminary canter to the attack at the corner, where there is to be a skew bridge. This road, leading up to the offices, is at all times a disagreeable one. It has been suggested, and it is to be devoutly hoped that the Government will make a new road leading from the public offices towards the Club in the opposite direction to the old one.

 (This reference is to Damansara Road Bridge).


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