JAKARTA - Most railway stations in Jakarta still have their original Dutch architecture, it is just sometimes difficult to detect because of the generally poor condition of the stations. This 81st article on old Batavia looks at the history of rail travel in the city. The state railway company might be advised to follow the practice of its Dutch predecessors in averting bad luck and accidents. During colonial rule, upon completing the construction of a railway station -- such as the Kota station in downtown Kota and the Tanjung Priok station in North Jakarta, and the Pasar Senen station in Central Jakarta -- the Dutch performed rituals and sacrificed water buffaloes in a sort of blessing of the station. According to reports from the time, selamatan, or thanksgiving ceremonies, were held for the Indonesian employees of the railways. During the ceremony, the heads of two water buffaloes were buried near the completed station. Now while it is certainly debatable whether these ceremonies really helped, reports of train accidents were scarce, a far cry from the situation today. At that time, railway managements took train transportation seriously, and even small things like the cleanliness of the railroad tracks was a priority. "I can remember that they (the stations) were always spotlessly clean. Even the rails under the stations' canopy of the platform. They were always checked by men whose duty was to clean the tracks, because sometimes the contents of the toilets on the cars leaked onto the rails," said designer Iwan Tirta, who loved to travel by train during the Dutch and the Japanese eras. The situation today is quite different, with dirty and poorly maintained stations and tracks, which could go some way toward explaining the "bad luck" the railway company sometimes runs into. The shabby condition of the train stations today makes it rather difficult to believe that these are the same beautiful and grand structures one admires in old photographs. Particularly rundown is the Tanjung Priok station in North Jakarta, with its dilapidated walls thick with dust kicked up by the buses at the terminal next to the station. In the past, this building was described as the monumental kopstation (head station in which tracks end parallel to each other at one end of the station). It was opened on April 6, 1925, marking the first electric train service in the Netherlands-Indies, according to Michiel van Ballegoijen de Jong in his book Spoorwegstations op Java (Railway Stations of Java). The opening date of the station also marked the 50th anniversary of the Statsspoorwegen, one of the railway companies operating in Batavia. De Jong describes the beauty of the old station: "The building has a very spacious entrance and a hall with purple blue glazed wall tiles, waiting rooms for first, second, third and fourth-class passengers and restaurants." Previously, the station was situated on the quay of the Tanjung Priok port, which was convenient for liner passengers. Now, the station is home to sidewalk vendors and the homeless. Moreover, its canopy -- the largest in Indonesia and is worthy of the Central Station in Amsterdam, is in disrepair, having been damaged in several spots.