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This historical landmark in Singapore is not your usual to-visit place on your guidebook to Singapore attractions. However it does have the wow (or wild) factor for those that dare ventures onto it. I call this “The Lost Railway to Jurong”

It is friend that I’ve not seen for more than a year now. Hence always glad to renew our friendship that dates back all the way to the early 90s. For those who have stayed long enough in Singapore, you may remember the days when the railway used to run all the way from Woodlands to Tanjong Pagar. This was known as the North-South Line. 

What many were not be aware of was the existence of a westward line called the Jurong Line. The 14-km Jurong Railway Line was completed in 1965. It was used by trains to carry cargoes from Malaysia to the Jurong industrial area. Passing by warehouses, refineries and plants, the line ends at one of the ports in Jurong.

The Jurong Line branched off from the Bukit Timah Railway station. A little background about this station, it was constructed in 1902 & opened in 1915 as part of the Singapore-Kranji railway system. The government of Federal Malay States purchased the entire Singapore-Kranji Line in 1918 for a sum of $4.13 million. It was subsequently owned by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB).

The Bukit Timah Station followed the style of the traditional small town stations that were common in the United Kingdom and Malaya. It is single-storey brick building with an open-sided waiting hall that fronts the main railway line with an open platform.

Constructed with six clearly expressed structural bays, the quaint building houses the station masters office, an open waiting area, closed waiting area and a signals office. Its cosy country cottage appearance has made it an endearing local landmark. In April 2011, the government announced the conservation of the Bukit Timah Railway Station.

However, the importance of the Jurong Line declined rapidly due to low usage and it was finally retired in the late 80’s after Ayer Rajah Expressway (AYE) was built.

I started trekking the old Jurong Line in the early 90s. In the mid-90s, about 1 km of the railway tracks starting from Bukit Timah railway station were removed. Over time, the forest grew thick and many do not remember the existence of this stretch of the railway tracks anymore.

Some notable sights along the old Jurong Line will be the short iron cast bridge that spans over Sunset Way. And then there is the magnificent iron bridge almost 10m tall that extends over Sungei Ulu Pandan and connect the Jurong Line westward towards Teban Garden.

Forgotten over the years and without maintenance, the iron tracks have rust all over them and the wooden sleepers have rotted due to daily exposure to sun and rain. It used to be a favourite place for abseilers and was also featured in a music video by Kelly Poon. Both these bridges are now boarded up and entry is forbidden. Other interesting sights include the railway tunnel that runs below Clementi Road plus another super long tunnel under the Teban Flyover.

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CONTRIBUTOR
34 comments
27 October 2020
Bukit Timah railway station was a railway station (now a conserved recreational building) and crossing loop in Singapore, owned by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), the main railway operator in Malaysia. It opened on the dismantled Tank Road mainline in 1903, was rebuilt on the current Singapore–Johor Bahru KTM Intercity mainline in 1932, until the Jurong Line shut down and it was a crossing loop station in the late 1940s until closure. The station was a freight interchange for the now defunct Jurong Line from 1965 to the early 1990s. This station was the second to carry the name Bukit Timah and it was built on the new Deviation line from Bukit Batok to Tanjong Pagar in 1932. The original Bukit Timah Railway Station was a wooden construction at Pei Wah Avenue on the 1903 line from Woodlands to Singapore (River Valley Road) via Newton. The Singapore station was replaced in 1907 when a new station was built at Tank Road and the line extended to Pasir Panjang, the old station at River Valley road became a goods only station incorporated into the later expanded Tank Road complex.[2] When the line to Tanjong Pagar opened all passenger traffic on the line to Tank Road ceased and the old Bukit Timah Station was closed along with all the other stations on the old line which was closed to all traffic and lifted within a few years. The section from Tank Road to Tanjong Pagar continued for a short while to clear out all the freight and the section from Tanjong Pagar to Pasir Panjang was taken over by the Singapore Harbour Board. Passenger traffic continued from the new Bukit Timah station until 1965 when Singapore left Malaysia. after which customs and immigration facilities were set up at Tanjong Pagar. Previously they had been carried out on the train at Johore Bahru during a lengthy stop. The station is built in the style of traditional small town stations. Workers of the railways constituted of mainly Tamils and Malays from Malaysia, and were given much work privileges which include free medical facilities for themselves and their families. The station served as a commodities transport linkage for the then heavily industrialized Bukit Timah to other stations, allowing goods to be produced and transported efficiently. Numerous houses could be found along the vicinity of the railways. These houses ranges from typical metal sheds that provides services the railway staff's automobile needs to brick houses lived by residents. read more on Wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bukit_Timah_railway_station
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