Jurong – Abandoned Railway Line

Many people have taken a walk along the green corridor but few have explored the now defunct Jurong Railway Line. The Keretapi Tanah Melayu railway from Malaysia used to have an extension branching out from the Bukit Timah railway station to Shipyard Road and Jurong Port via Teban Gardens. This railway extension was intended for goods transportation as Jurong lacked good roads at the time. It was opened in 1965 amid much fanfare, but failed to generate satisfactory traffic. It was consequently closed in early 1990s during the electrification project, and has since been partially dismantled.

We have seen bits and pieces of and along the old Jurong Railway Line over several visits, and were surprised to see that a good amount of tracks and tunnels remain intact. Some of the areas are quite tough to navigate due to the overgrown and muddy terrain, but the walk was very enjoyable indeed. We heard that there was a railway tunnel near Teban Gardens and decided to take a look.

A short walk from civilisation brought us to the entrance of a rather long and muddy tunnel. If there were still tracks under the mud, we couldn’t spot any.

The former Jurong Line is not part of the main line from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands and has been abandoned for many years. In some places, the rail line has been turfed over or is in a severe state of disrepair. Upon reaching the other end of the tunnel, we found it boarded up. However, there was a gap big enough for most to walk through.

To our surprise, we not only found a tunnel in this area but also vegetable gardens. It felt like we’ve stepped back in time and were walking through a kampong. Apparently, these community farms were started by a group of residents in the area for planting fruits and veggies for their own consumption. I’ve also heard that the SLA have taken steps to remove these plots as they are on state land.

One of the landmarks of the Jurong Railway Line is the truss bridge near Sunset Way. 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. Unfortunately, I don’t think this bridge has been gazetted for conservation (yet).

We found another tunnel along Clementi Road near Maju Drive. The way down from the main road is a little steep and slippery but with good shoes and a sense of adventure, the terrain wasn’t much of an issue. Once we were down the slope, the dark tunnel stood there welcoming us into it’s belly.

Most of the railway tracks here are still intact and overgrown with vegetation and we walked along the metal sleepers to avoid sinking into the sticky mud. All along the way, you can see old power boxes and traffic lights that were once in used by the KTM network.

For more information about the KTM and Jurong Railway Line, visit http://www.thegreencorridor.org/tag/jurong-line/.

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