Tanjong Pagar railway station

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  30B Keppel Road Singapore 089059
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This was also called Keppel Road railway station or Singapore railway station providing transport between Singapore and Malaysia. It was operated by Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM), the main railway operator in Malaysia until June 2011.

The main building of the railway station was gazetted as a national monument on 9 April 2011.

Picture credit goes to Jonathan of The Myraid Thoughts.

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Lost part of Singapore's heritage
Overall Experience 

It is said that no one appreciates something until they've lost it, and I find it very true for the case of the KTM railway. For years, this small, squalid station, providing a service via traidtional railway to Malaysia, laid forgotten in the memories of the local citizenry as they engaged alternative transport such as coaches and planes to Malaysia. Moreover, the concept of the railway has long vanished from the common Singaporean's mind with the rise of the MRT and the LRT.

In 2011, the Government announced the closure and dismantling of the KTM Railway. This stirred up a frenzy as people realised an integral, albeit forgotten part of Singapore's heritage was under threat and much was said to condem the move. The incident also witnessed an army of people going down for one last visit and to bring back momentos, i.e. the stones on which the railway tracks were based on.

I remembered working with Nature Society (Singapore) then to organise a fund-raising carnival to help its fight to save the greenery along the KTM railway. It was all I could do, despite hardly knowing the place, and it felt right to do so at that point in time.

Kudos to an amenity that has faithfully and quietly served Singapore for many long, weary years, and has since retired to the annuls of its history.

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As time goes by.
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Overall Experience 

The Old Malay Railway from Tanjung Pagar is now a thing of the past.

There is little point talking about the old station which was the terminus. It is on State Land and is verboten!

As walks go, this is a lulu. 23 kms under the burning sun wandering along the track of the abandoned Malayan railway from Tanjung Pagar to Woodlands is probably not everyone’s idea of fun. But hey, break it into two or three sections and it is more manageable. The authorities have even erected little signs advising you to take care and to enjoy the walk. How thoughtful.

They have taken up all the tracks except for a few in the old Tanjung Pagar station. In true Singaporean style, that station is out of bounds while they work out what to do with it. You have to start the walk by sliding down the cutting under the bridge over the railway from Kampung Bahru Road. They have left a couple of a tracks at the Bukit TImah Station and that is your lot until you reach Woodlands station, the new terminus on the KL-Singapura line.
But back to the first section. My favourite part is the section from Tanjung Pagar you walk unhindered to the old station at Bukit Timah. That is a ten kilometre hike. You can opt out at Buona Vista which is less than half way, but both sections are worth it.

It is quite amazing, even delightful, to walk this route and wonder why so little development impinges on the borders of the tracks. You actually see vistas of green fields, trees and nature: quite lovely. Especially when it is not too hot.

The second section (about 5.5 kms) from Bukit Timah to CCK is not so pleasant. You see very little in the way of greenery, and there is an overwhelming awareness of residences. A suggestion is to break off at Dairy Farm Road and do a loop back to Buona Vista via the Bukit Timah nature reserve.

The third and final 8 km section is largely uninteresting. It passes past Yew Tew and its HDB forests and industrial estates, on past Kranji and its race course, and on to the Woodlands station through high, swampy grassland.

Take caution! There is not a shade tree in sight on the whole route. How surprising! Do you mean that they never planted trees for the trains? What an oversight.

I believe the Government is seeking suggestions for how to use the old rail corridor. Other cities have converted their abandoned lines to elevated walkways dotted with cafes and art galleries and the like. That is fine in a temperate climate. In tropical Singapore, something similar could be done. It seems to me that the best idea would be to do what Singapore does best. Plant a few million shade trees and develop a lateral park, at least from Tanjung Pagar to Buona Vista, if not to CCK or Yew Tew. A tall order? Without shade, few are going to use it.
Maybe think of it as a Central Park, along the lines of the East Coast , West Coast and Pasir Ris beach parks, married to concepts such as the Duxton and Siglap Linear Parks

If you are a keen walker, this place is for you. To be in the center of a city state and not be overwhelmed by high rise and actually feel and see nature, is quite surprising.

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