A gradual reopening of the Rail Corridor

2 09 2011

Members of the media and the Rail Corridor working group were provided with an update on the track removal works and plans to reopen parts of the Rail Corridor as work is being completed early this morning during a walkabout in the vicinity of Bukit Timah Railway Station with Minister of Law, Mr. K Shanmungam, the Minister of State (National Development) BG Tan Chuan-Jin, the Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of Education & Ministry of Law, Ms Sim Ann, and officers from the SLA, MND, URA and Nparks.

Minister of Law, Mr Shanmugam briefed members of the media and the Rail Corridor Consultation Group on the progress of SLA's track removal work and the reopening of the Rail Corridor for use by the community.

Mr Shanmugam being briefed by a SLA officer near the truss bridge.

The Minister also responded to concerns raised by members of the public about damage to existing vegetation during track removal works in the vicinity of the station and explained that the SLA had been “aware of the need to preserve vegetation and no trees were removed”. He also stated that turfing works over the area of the removed tracks, which is now quite evident, was necessary to ensure that there was little risk of water ponding. The tracks, all ancilliary structures such as signal posts, kilometre markers and the ballast are being removed and returned as part of the agreement with Malaysia, with the exception of a stretches in way of the platforms of the two conserved stations and the three bridges that will be retained.

Turfing work south of Bukit Timah Railway Station.

A section of the tracks in way of the Bukit Timah Railway Station platform is being retained.

Another view of Bukit Timah Railway Station. Besides the tracks, one sign and several other structures are being kept.

A map at the station showing SLA's removal plans which identify the bridges that will be retained.

The truss bridge at Bukit Timah / Dunearn Roads with trufing work and the portion of tracks to be retained very much in evidence.

The SLA also announced the reopening of a 1.4 kilometre stretch of the Rail Corridor where track removal and turfing work is being completed from the 16th of September. The stretch is from the steel truss bridge over Bukit Timah / Dunearn Road southwards. This will allow members of the public to enjoy walks along the stretch. Work to remove the tracks is scheduled to be completed by 31st December this year and portions of the former railway land will be progressively opened to the public as the removal works are being completed.

Rather than the green SLA signs we are used to, signs welcoming the public are being put up along the stretches of the Rail Corridor that are bing reopened.

The portion of the track being retained at the truss bridge at Bukit Timah / Dunearn Roads. a 1.4 km stretch from the bridge southwards is being opened up to the public from 16th September.

Mr Shanmugam being interviewed by members of the media at Bukit Timah Railway Station.

Mr Shanmugam speaking to Mr Leong Kwok Peng of the Nature Society (Singapore).

The public will also have access to the former Bukit Timah Railway Station building. Members of the public are advised refrain from acts vandalism, which the bridges and the tracks have been subject to. The station as we see today, has been stripped of items belonging to the railway, including signalling equipment and signal levers (except for six that remain). The station sign on the north end has also been returned to Malaysia, with Singapore retaining the one on the south end. The longer term plans for Bukit Timah Railway Station will be part of the URA’s comprehensive review of development plans for the former railway land and their surrounding areas and as part of its review, the URA will study the possibility of marrying development and greenery, such as applying innovative strategies to maintain a continuous green link along the rail corridor without affecting the development potential of the lands.

The Station Master's room at Bukit Timah Station, stripped of the safe which sat on the yellow support structure next to the door.

Another view of the room where the key token signal equipment had once been placed.

All that are left are six signal levers.

Another view of the six signal levers.


Photographs proivided by SLA explaining the track removal process:


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3 responses

2 09 2011
Bryan

While queuing to get our 8 tickets for the last train out of Singapore, the anxiety and buzz in Tanjung Pagar Station grew more and more intense. The train was now almost full…

But luck was on our side, as we received all 8 tickets. They were the very last tickets sold; the second they were handed over to me, the cameras and microphones literally swooped in on the poor couple behind me in the queue, who were now practically begging the counter operator if they could buy just 2 more tickets. I felt sad for them.

But the ride was all I imagined it to be. It was clunky, noisy and the carriage was endlessly swaying this way and that. The tracks were old and overgrown. In fact, certain sections were actually being reclaimed by the encroaching jungle. I could see this because we were standing in the open doorway while the train was snaking its way to JB. I guess safety wasn’t all that much of an issue in the olden days.

The best part was when we stopped for a while at a station that looked like a prop out the BBC drama series “Tenko”. It was simply oozing with nostalgia.

The contrast couldn’t have been greater after arriving at the JB station. It was spanking new, almost sterile.

And so another old-school Singapore chapter comes to a close. A bit of shame, sure. But then, who are we to question Singaporean’s ambitions, or indeed Malaysia’s, to surge ahead?

Anyway, memories last longer than steel.

3 09 2011
francis siew

Strange, with all the signalling equipment gone from the room. I just wonder what is there to appreciate ! For those who have not seen the equipment, it is hard for them to imagine what it is like.

24 09 2015
Hou Meng Hsien

“the URA will study the possibility of marrying development and greenery” = corridor lost forever. This long stretch of land has a history as long as the history of Singapore beyond the 50 years we are celebrating.
I am afraid of words spoken by people who do not feel the same as some of us at the ground.
I have been familiar with the rail and the train for 25 years of my life and now when I go to the same places I went when I was a child, a teenager and then as an adult, I feel a loss.
Where am I ? i asked myself. i knew exactly where to go where i wander away from the track. i knew how to come back to the track when i need to go home.
Where is the history now? what do i see? grass will soon cover the path and shrubs will grow over it and then the trees.
This tract of history will be loss as one gets loss in a jungle.
Man in authority has made us less rich in the history and the comfort of the familiar places we know. I mean we grew up with these. I mean the city scape in Collyer Quay that i knew as a child and as a boy. It was all gone when i became an adult
At a stoke of a pen all is gone.
We can bring history and development back to the Corridor. Seeing a train again in the corridor is comfort too.
We can build a novelty to attract local and tourists alike to a train which travels up and down, the breadth of Singapore.
Development can join hands with the novelty train. You can think of the developments. It can be endless. A
What is this novelty train? An old train converted to run on electricity using the sun’s energy. This train can transport people like the MRT does and the train becomes a novelty to those who long to travel on history.
So I say. Bring on the train.

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