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.