Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

Before the mid-1960s, the KTM trains were hauled by steam locomotives — huge metallic beasts puffing thick plumes of black smoke from their stacks, and hissing steam from both sides.  The coaches came in three classes, with 3rd Class ones nearest the loco, and 1st Class ones farthest away.

Back then, there was no aircon – hence windows would be down.  We, the poor folks always went for 3rd Class of course.  At the end of a trip from Prai (at that time, the tracks had not been extended to Butterworth yet) to Kuala Lumpur,  our faces would look like as though we had a tour of an  underground coal mine.  A dig with a handkerchief – those days, no one heard of tissues – into the nostrils produced some mighty good carbon black.   Also needed some eye-drops to clear soot from the eyes.

But it was really fun.  Tooot ! Tooot !

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