Go back in time to a disused railway station in Singapore with this app

15 Stations is an augmented reality exhibition that combines art, history and technology and is located in a railway station that once linked the countries of Singapore and Malaysia.

Aloysius Low Senior Editor
Aloysius Low is a Senior Editor at CNET covering mobile and Asia. Based in Singapore, he loves playing Dota 2 when he can spare the time and is also the owner-minion of two adorable cats.
Aloysius Low
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The 15 Stations app replaces a blank wall with a historical video. Aloysius Low/CNET

If you happen to be in Singapore sometime this week, you may want to check out 15 Stations, an exhibition piece that combines art, history and augmented reality technology and is located at a disused railway station in the vicinity of the central business district.

For history buffs, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station plays hosts to lots of memories, including the Japanese Occupation and was an important link between Malaysia and Singapore. The station was closed down in 2011, and is currently opened infrequently for events such as this one.

Visitors can either use one of the 30 Samsung Galaxy Note 4s or 20 Galaxy Tab S at the venue, which has the 15 Stations AR app preloaded and take a tour around the station on preset routes to experience the history of the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. It's also possible to download the free app first on your own tablet or smartphone on both the Apple App Store or Google Play.

There are three preset routes to walk, each taking around 30 minutes to complete. When viewed through the phone, the background comes alive with pictures and videos from the past, with passengers talking about the first time they came to Singapore through the train. A dedicated section also talks about the Japanese occupation and how the railway station was used during the occupation.

Noorlinah Mohamed, director of the 15 Stations exhibition, told CNET that the station was chosen for its historical significance and relative obscurity with the newer generation.

"Firstly, the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station is filled with lots of historical significance for Singapore and hence memory, it's a place that many people don't know about," said Mohamed.

"It stands at the threshold of memory and obscurity, which is a very interesting phenomenon in Singapore, because we change so fast and so much. Working with memory -- AR lends itself exceedingly well to this."

Because the app relies on visual clues and QR codes, it will only work at the station itself, though if you happen to have the app installed and are nearby, you'll be sent notifications on historical trivia about the place.

15 Stations, which ends on July 4, is part of a larger exhibition called The Open, which itself is a preshow to the upcoming Singapore International Festival of Arts. A single-entry ticket to the exhibition will cost S$10 ($7.50), though the general pass that includes concerts and films will cost S$45 ($33.50). Head over to the website for more information.