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Penang Hill upper station upgrade nears completion

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Source: Buletin Mutiara

According to a news report in Buletin Mutiara, the Penang Hill Upper Station Upgrading Project (Phase Four) is on the cusp of completion, with the final touches expected to conclude next month. According to the Penang Hill Corporation (PHC) general manager, Datuk Cheok Lay Leng, the corporation aims to unveil the new upper station to the public before the Chinese New Year celebration next year, marking a pivotal moment in the RM9.3 million project initiated on March 20, 2021.

Cheok Lay Leng conveyed his excitement, highlighting that the project is now at an impressive 95% completion. The primary objective of this initiative is to significantly enhance the visitor experience on Penang Hill, with plans to increase the upper station’s capacity from accommodating 250 visitors to an expansive 700 visitors at a time.

The expansion encompasses the transformation of the current 800 sq m space, a single floor, into a more extensive 1,422 sq m area spread across two floors. The upgraded upper station will feature improved facilities, including a ticketing counter, escalators, a lift, restrooms, a dedicated mothers’ room, and a distinctive featured wall paying homage to Arnold Robert Johnson (1879 – 1966), the engineer credited with designing the historic Penang Hill railway.

Cheok emphasized PHC’s commitment to sustainability, revealing that the corporation is working towards achieving the Green Building Index (GBI) Gold rating for this project. The new upper station is designed with senior-friendly and disabled-friendly facilities, reflecting the aspiration to transform Penang Hill into an authentic, family-friendly destination that fosters a close connection with nature.

In addition to upgraded facilities, the upper station will feature a smart queue management system, ensuring a seamless journey for Penang Hill visitors. Through an e-boarding system, visitors will be assigned batch numbers and provided with estimated boarding times for the funicular train, enhancing the overall efficiency of the experience.

Cheok encouraged visitors to utilize their waiting time by enjoying the amenities at David Brown’s Restaurant and Tea Terrace or the Astaka Bukit Bendera. This strategic use of time allows visitors to explore the hill’s attractions and maximize their overall experience. A similar system is already operational at the lower station, promoting a more productive use of visitors’ time on the hill.

Cheok underscored the main objective of the upgrading project, emphasizing PHC’s role in finding innovative ways to enhance people’s experiences. The corporation is also actively bringing businesses to traders on the hill through digital infrastructure.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow highlighted that these developments align with the fundamental guidelines outlined in the Penang Hill Special Area Plan (SAP) 2016 and Penang Hill Special Area Plan (Substitution) 2020, aimed at preserving the aesthetic value and natural attractions of the hill. As Penang Hill approaches this significant transformation, it is poised to solidify its status as a premier destination in Malaysia, offering an unforgettable experience for locals and tourists alike.

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