Friday 19 September 2014

The Green Corridor, Singapore - Part 1, from Hillview to Bt Timah Station


KTM (Keretapi Tanah Melayu) has been operating trains between Peninsular Malaysia and Singapore for a better part of a century. In 1990, the two countries signed the Singapore-Malaysia Points of Agreement in which both countries agree to jointly redevelop the land surrounding the tracks. After a prolonged deadlock (details which can be found in the link above), both countries finally came to a solution where KTM will vacate the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station, along with the land on which the tracks runs on. In return, Singapore and Malaysia will jointly develop 4 parcels of land in Southern Singapore.
The last train out of Tanjong Pagar Station will run on 30th June 2011, with the official handover on 1st July 2011.
With the trains no longer running, and the tracks all but returned to KTM (save for three railway bridges across Upp Bt Timah Road, Hindhede Road and Dunearn Road), the former KTM trail is now a Green Corridor Running along the spine of Singapore.

So, 3 years after the last train departed Tanjong Pagar Station, I finally decided to take a walk on the trail together with my wife.

We started our trek from Hillview Road (where there used to be a small railway bridge, but had been removed), with the aim of walking to Bt Timah Station.

There used to be a bridge here for the trains to cross. Now it's cordoned off.

Well trodden path marks where the railway tracks used to run.

After hearing the daily sound of trains for years, the residents here can finally enjoy some peace and quiet.
After approximately 500m, we reach the first section (if you're on southbound path) where the original tracks are still preserved.

This is the railway bridge over Upp Bt Timah Road, right next to Railway Mall.

This bridge (and the one over Dunearn/Bt Timah Rd) has become a hot spot for wedding photography.

View of Upp Bt Timah Rd from the railway bridge, with Rail Mall on the right.
400m down the path, and there's an old disused pedestrian bridge that leads into Bt Timah Nature Reserve.

All along the way, there are small side paths leading to Upp Bt Timah Road, which runs in parallel to the trail.

And wild mushrooms growing among the ground litter.

The next bridge over Hindhede Road also has the original tracks still on it.

Even on a late Sunday morning, there are still quite a bit of cyclist, runners and trekkers on the trail.
This is one side of Singapore which is is rarely seen. Residential areas without any tall apartment blocks in sight. Kind of feels like the residential "taman" in Malaysia.
And we reached the railway bridge that spans over Dunearn Road/Bt Timah Road. This is the last railway bridge you'll pass enroute to Tanjong pagar. Again, this is another hotspot for wedding/graduation/model photography.

The view of Bt Timah Canal, in the direction of City. Dunearn Road is on the left, while Bt Timah Road is on the right.

Finally, we reached the old Bt Timah Station. This station served as the freight interchange point between the main railway line (Woodlands to Tg Pagar) and Jurong Line, which cease operation in the 90s. It then served as a crossing loop station between northbound and southbound trains, until 1st July 2011, where it cease operations altogether.

The Station Sign, reminding us of the days of rail travel between Singapore and Malaysia.

Part of the tracks at Bt Timah Station are left behind. The building itself is now under SLA authority.

Manually controlled signal room with control levers.....(cont'd below)

(cont' from above)... which leads to link arms that run under the tracks... (cont'd below)

(cont'd from above).....which control steel wires that run through these pulleys.

No comments:

Post a Comment