By V. Sivaji

It was a momentous occasion when the Penang Hill Funicular Railway celebrated its 100th year anniversary held at the G Hotel.

Guest-of-honour was Penang Governor Tun Ahmad Fuzi Abdul Razak.

Welcoming him was Penang Chief Minister YAB Chow Kon Yeow, former Penang CM Lim Guan Eng and Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon, Penang DCM 1 Datuk Dr Mohamad Addul Hamid, Penang State Exco for Tourism and Creative Economy YB Wong Hon Wai, Vice Consul General Consulate General of the People’s Republic of China in Penang, Mdm Ding Qiao, among others.

Also present was a list of the various consul-general in Penang, government officials, politicians and VIP guests.

In his address Chow said that the evening was a celebration intended to recap the dedication and hard work of the funicular railway contributors and the funicular design engineer, A. R. Johnson, who was seconded by the Federated Malay States Railways to build the funicular railway after the initial attempt failed.

“The first attempt to build the funicular railway was in 1905 with the use of the Pelton water wheel. An old newspaper article described that, when the car was about to take off and the signal to start was given, the Bengali guard saluted, the waterpower was turned on with a gentle hissing noise, but nothing happened.

“Subsequently, under A. R. Johnson’s leadership, and using 1,200 workers from the Chinese and Tamil communities, Southeast Asia’s first funicular railway, which is also one of the world’s steepest was constructed at a cost of $1.57 million Straits Dollars,” shared Chow.

He continued that “tonight, we are celebrating a century of wonder, a century of memories, and a century of progress which is a reflection on the transformative journey of the Penang Hill Railway.

Earlier Cheok said that the gathering was with a deep sense of gratitude to commemorate the 100-year journey of the Penang Hill Railway.

“It is an honour to be here at the Penang Hill Railway Centenary Gala Dinner, celebrating a remarkable milestone and paying tribute to a century of achievement.

“The Penang Hill Railway is one of its kind in Malaysia and Southeast Asia. It boasts one of the steepest funicular railway tunnels in the world. Since its operation a century ago, it has warmly welcomed more than 48 million visitors, including both domestic and international tourists, residents, and local
communities,” added Cheok.

This was followed by Tun Ahmad Fuzi launching the gala gathering and cutting of the cake ceremony.

Guests were also treated to a fine Chinese dinner put out by the F&B team from the G Hotel followed by a live band entertainment and Boria performance.