The station is located along a road named Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin, previously known as Victory Avenue, which in turn was part of Damansara Road.
Prior to the construction of the current Kuala Lumpur station, two stations were already operational in the city.
The first Kuala Lumpur Railway Station, nicknamed Resident Station due to its proximity to the residence of the British Resident, was completed and located opposite to the Selangor Club towards the west. Constructed of wood and a nipah palm roof, the station was the first in Kuala Lumpur, linking Kuala Lumpur to Klang (Pengkalan Batu) via the first railway line to connect the city with the rest of the Malay Peninsula (officially inaugurated September 22, 1886).
The second station, Sultan Street Station, was constructed in 1892 at Foch Avenue (now Tun Tan Cheng Lock Road. Its design was based on Resident Station, and was stationed along the Pudu railway line, a new line that branched off north from the 1910 station, and connected mines from Ampang to the city. The line was unique in that the initial leg of the track approaching Sultan Street Station from the main line was sandwiched between two carriageways of Foch Avenue, cutting across the east side of the city.
Design, construction and operation
Arthur Benison Hubback, a British Architectural Assistant to the Director of Public Works, undertook the design of the station. Having served in India, he utilised his knowledge of Anglo-Asian architecture in the region on the station's design. The "Neo-Moorish / Mughal / Indo-Saracenic / Neo-Saracenic" style was not uncommon at the time. Similar structures, such as the Sultan Abdul Samad Building (designed by A.C. Norman, completed 1895), the Old City Hall (designed by A.B. Hubback, completed 1904) and the Jamek Mosque (designed by A.B. Hubback, completed 1909), pre-date Kuala Lumpur station.
Kuala Lumpur Railway Station initially consisted of a main terminal building at the front and three platforms serving four railway lines at the back.
The main structure, which contains a main hall, ticket counters and offices, is primarily designed in a "Raj" styling, mixture of Western and Mughal similar to Moorish Revival or Indo-Saracenic architecture, which enjoyed brief popularity in late-19th century and early 20th century colonial India, as well as Europe and the. Dominated by horseshoe and ogee arches, and large chhatris (six originally, with two added later) at the corners of the building accompanying smaller variations at the front, the station is comparable to the Sultan Abdul Samad Building and surrounding structures constructed around the Merdeka Square during the period. In addition to the main station building, a three-storey addition at the north wing was added early in its operation, adopting Westernised vernacular designs with surrounding venrendahs and segmental arches of various widths. The facade of the station is completely plastered, as opposed to buildings of similar styles that opt for exposed brickwork, and painted in light colours (usually white or cream) throughout its service.