Semarang Tawang Station

Semarang Tawang Station started to operate on 1 June 1914. This station was built by NIS (Nederlandsch-Indische Spoorwegmaatschappij) railway company to replace Samarang Station in Tambaksari which was considered no longer improper. Samarang Station has been operated since 1867. The architect of Semarang Tawang Station is Sloth-Blauwboer. The huge and robust pillars and walls reflect the splendor of the station building. The top of the building in the shape of dome shows the architectural style of the building at that time. The curve and square shapes dominate the building ornament. The availability of canopy in front of the entrance adds the exclusiveness of the station. Despite its artistic and splendid styles, according to the original goal of the building construction (as stated by Director of NIS in Den Haag, the Netherlands), the building was emphasized on the functionality. At the same time, on 6 August 1914, the SCS (Semarang-Cheribon Stoomtram Maatschappij) railway company launched Semarang Poncol station designed by an architect Henry Maclaine – Pont.

During the initial operation of the railway, there was no any railway line connecting Semarang Tawang and Semarang Poncol stations, both of which were the last station destinations or ‘Kopstation’. The Semarang Poncol station provided the trains heading from/to west (Cirebon), while the Semarang Tawang station from/to east (Solo and Yogyakarta). This was because Semarang Tawang and Semarang Poncol stations were owned by different railway companies, the NIS and SCS respectively. Due to separate railway line connection, each of them has their own stations. This condition made both train passengers and freights difficult travel by railway transportation. Fortunately, at the beginning of the Japanese occupancy in Indonesia in 1942/1943, Semarang Tawang and Semarang Poncol stations were eventually connected. At the same time, the NIS and SCS were merged under supervision of Japanese government in Indonesia.

However, because of the rapid development of the Semarang City and the improper city planning for the Semarang City as a coastal city, then Semarang Tawang station frequently gets flooded when hard rain comes or the sea level rises. Besides the heavy three-day rainfall in a row and high tide in Java Sea, the flood is brought about by the loss of catchment areas in the north of the station. Bogs which previously made up the northern parts of the station now turn to residential areas. Flood is the main problem that Tawang station has to cope with, not to mention a heap of waste in the eastern part of the station. These problems make the operation of the railway on the north route run unwell. In order to solve the problems, the railway company authority decides to heighten the station building floor. Thus, the height of the entire building decreases by 1.5 meters. In addition, the railway line is heightened.

Since July 2009, PT Kereta Api (persero) has classified about 600 stations in Indonesia whose age is over 50 years as cultural and historical heritage, including Semarang Tawang station. This initiative is done in an attempt to protect and restore the unique and historical buildings so that they still can maintain their original features. Having a station as cultural heritage brings cleanliness and comfort to the station. At this time, the restoration process which is progressing takes place in Semarang Tawang station. So far one stage of the restoration process has been completed. Restoration plan includes replacement the old layer of the building wall with the new one, including grey-color cement (PC) and emulsion paint. One of the rooms which is about to restore is the main lobby of the station. The lobby has been designed as the entrance gate to Semarang. The restoration clearly illustrates that it is very important to conserve and restore station buildings as the cultural and historical assets and a significant part of the Indonesian railway history.{jcomments on}

Photo's Courtesy KITLV, The Netherlands