In 2010, the governments of Singapore and Malaysia finally agreed on a settlement to move the Malaysian train station from Keppel to Woodlands. In exchange for the land that the railway line sits on, the Malaysian government will be given some land in Marina South to be jointly developed with Singapore’s government. After this, the trains finally stopped running into Singapore and there was a nostalgic rush to see the railway tracks before they were dismantled.
I had taken the KTM train from Singapore to Kuala Lumpur when I was a kid, and I vaguely remembered it being an noisy and overnight train ride that lasted easily 8 hours or more. Nowadays, you can cover the same distance by car in 3-4 hrs using the North-South Highway. So this kind of gives you an idea of the type of trains that used to run these tracks. Luckily for me, the train tracks do run past near where I’m staying. So early one morning, I decided to take a walk along memory lane. This was a couple of months after the last train had left Singapore and the tracks were due to be dismantled, since the Malaysian Railways wanted all railway infrastructure to be returned to them.
Although it was barely 7.00am and the sun had just started to rise, people were already walking ahead.
From Buona Vista, I decided to walk towards the Bukit Timah Station. The intention was to stop for breakfast at the McDonalds at King Albert Park.
The tracks have all been cleared and the what we have now is the Green Corridor; a stretch of nature that runs from the conserved Tanjong Pagar Railway Station in the south until the path runs out in the thick vegetation of Woodlands in the north. The Green Corridor is now used by hikers, joggers, and cyclists. All that remains to remind future generations that a railway used to run through here are the conserved iron rail bridges and the 2 train stations in Tanjong Pagar and Bukit Timah. There are plans to redevelop some stretches of the Green Corridor into condominiums or other property types, so it’s likely that current situation won’t last forever.
For more information about the Green Corridor, you can visit this website http://www.thegreencorridor.org/.