Tanjong Pagar railway station used to be the southern railway terminus of the railway network operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM). The land on which the station and the KTM railway tracks in Singapore are situated was held by KTM on a 999-year lease. Operations ended permanently on 30 June 2011 and the Woodlands Train Checkpoint took over as terminus for KTM’s Singapore services. The removal of the 26 km of tracks is underway and will be returned by 31 December 2011, so we thought it time to pay it a visit. Our journey today started at Mayfair park.
Our first steps into the area where train tracks used to lie. It is now a corridor of gravel, but we enjoyed the walk nevertheless. We were somewhat sad that some parts of the train tracks have been dismantled though, feels like a little part of history had been ripped out.
The tracks started again at the black truss bridge near rail mall over upper bukit timah road. A truss bridge is a bridge composed of connected elements (typically straight) which may be stressed from tension, compression, or sometimes both in response to dynamic loads. Truss bridges are one of the oldest types of modern bridges. I am glad to read that the tracks and bridge here will be conserved for future generations.
We were spurred on to walk a little further than our intended route as the tracks here were still intact as we headed north. After a few hundred metres, the sky threatened to open and we made our way back to where we started.
Walking across the girder bridge over hindhede road. A girder bridge is a bridge built of girders (support beams used in construction) placed on bridge abutments and foundation piers. In turn, a bridge deck is built on top of the girders in order to carry traffic.
We stopped to climb some trees (an activity much missed from our childhood), and enjoy the flora and fauna in the area. The entire trail was filled with life from tropical plants and forests to wildlife like birds, insects (we saw lots of beautiful butterflies and dragonflies), and fish. We even managed to catch an iguana eating a grasshopper on a fallen sign post.
Along the way, we met with some machinery used to dismantle the train tracks. what are in those tanks? Oxygen. A wave of sadness washed over us, but at the same time, we were glad to have come here during the last few months of it’s glory days.
All that remains on the corridor now are the rails, sleepers, and fasteners that were once part of the KTM tracks from Tanjong Pagar to woodlands. We said our last goodbyes and continued our journey on the gravel path, absorbing as much of it’s history as we possibly could.
An old abandon concrete pedestrian bridge that leads into Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. We climbed up the bank to see where the bridge took us, but came back down again as we were running low on water and were not prepared to jungle bash. Also, the sky looked like it was about to open and we thought it a better idea to return to our car before the rain came pouring down.
Here’s a screenshot taken from my runkeeper activity route. We took almost two hours to complete the route from Mayfair Park to Rail Mall, then make a loop back to the car. This is at a leisurely pace, stopping every now and then to enjoy the surroundings and snap some photos. Total distance covered is 5.53km.
The Bukit Timah Greenway map below shows points of interest and photo opportunities along this route. Very useful if you wish to visit here – it can be found on the following websites. Image source: onemap.sg, thegreencorridor.org. Download high-res map of Walking route from Rail Mall to Bukit Timah Train Station (v1.2) (510.29 kB).