Category Archives: bridge

Bridge On The River Prai

1964 was milestone year of great significance for rail travel in Malaysia, as KTM finally made that great leap forward over the River Prai.  The opening of the Swing Bridge allowed the railway tracks to move onward to Butterworth.

Prior to that, goods and passengers had to be transported via a special “train ferry” between Penang Island and Prai Town.

The swing bridge could be swivelled around to allow ships to pass through. 

I had a frightening experience once, circa 1972, when with a friend, tried cycling along the railway track on it.  We heard the train whistle, and in my panic, had my bike pedal caught in the steel rail. Adrenaline gushed in, and I was able to extract myself in time – albeit with a gashed toe — and live to tell you the story.

The bridge was replaced by a twin-track one in 2013.

Bridge Over Harbor Water

Beautiful Penang Bridge #1 …… should ask Simon and Garfunkel to come and take look.

3rd August 1985 – that was slightly over 3 decades ago – was a day of national pride when Dr Mahathir drove a bright red Proton Saga over the original Penang Bridge. I had already left my Pearl of the Orient for a year by then;  still I could not help getting emo over that. A Penanglang at heart – just as I am, still.

The 13.5km long JPP meant that going over to Butterworth changed from “kuay kang” (过港) to “kuay kio” (过桥) in Penang Hokkien lingo.   Motor vehicles could travel freely now without having to wait for the chug-a-chug vintage ferries.

In no small way, it paved the way for the transformation of Pulau Pinang into an economic powerhouse.