The perks of being in Singapore include the scenic city skylines and chio buildings, with hidden gardens in the CBD. And for nature lovers, we have walking trails such as the Green Corridor and the Jurong Railway Line.
Since the latter might be lesser known to some of us, we detailed our hike across the railway line from the famed abandoned tunnel near Maju camp, all the way to the Sunset Railway Tracks that’s tucked away in the Clementi HDB estates. Read on to find out more:
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Image credit: Damien
First things first – how it began. This 19km-long railroad was constructed in 1963 to connect Malaysia with the Jurong industrial area’s docks, and National Iron and Steel Mills.
Construction was completed in 1965 and it ran from Bukit Timah Railway Station, under Clementi Road through a tunnel to Shipyard Road, a docking basin, near Jurong Island. But as we all know, Singapore’s eventual separation from Malaysia led to the closure of the railway in the mid 1990s.
Although the tracks are no longer in operation, there are still parts of the railway line you can check out. We started our journey at the abandoned tunnel near Clementi Road. To get there, take a bus and alight at the Opp Maju Camp bus stop.
You’ll see a stone path leading down to the entrance of the tunnel. It’s a short walk down, and there are railings installed for you to hold for support. There, you’ll see the tunnel that reminded us of Spirited Away, and it also makes for a perfect background for grungy pics.
The end of the rainbow – I mean, tunnel.
We estimated that the tunnel stretches slightly less than 100m as it took us about a minute to get to the other side, but it’s a pretty dark walk in so turn on your phone’s flashlight if needed. Every noise is amplified from the echoing, and we could hear the conversations of other hikers who were on the opposite end of the tunnel.
From there, follow the man-made tracks to reach the other side of the forested area. There are no steep inclines, but some areas were pretty muddy. If you’re not as keen on getting down and dirty, make use of the fallen tree trunks and cross over the softened soil with them. Don’t be shy to use the low hanging branches for support and balance.
You’ll come across some of “nature’s obstacles” too.
Majority of the trail was shaded, thanks to the surrounding trees that blocked out the sun glare. But if you’re heat averse, bring along a mini portable fan that you can also use to shoo away pesky insects.
After around 40-minutes, depending on how fast you make your way through the trail, you’ll begin to see the thinning of trees and a small path that leads out to the roadside.
Tip: wear proper hiking boots to stomp through the mud, or shoes you don’t mind getting dirty, and bring mosquito repellent.
The tracks extend beyond the forested area and across to the neighbouring housing estates. After cleaning off the mud, we crossed the road to get to this portion of the railway that’s located above a pseudo hill.
You’ll have to walk up a slope to get here, but the place makes for a peaceful area to chill at. And judging by the imprinted footpath up, we’d say that many have visited this place before us.
Then, take a 10-minute walk to Sungei Ulu Pandan and walk along the river to get to the truss bridge. Because it’s no longer in use, the metal on the bridge has rusted over the years to form a coppery coating. It’s also been barricaded to prevent visitors from crossing it and injuring themselves.
On the other side, there’s a tent-like bridge where we took respite from the heat, and admired the truss bridge from there.
You can walk along the HDB void decks for cover from the sun.
After crossing the newer bridge, you’ll want to continue walking along the sheltered walkway to get to the Sunset Way Railway Tracks. At this intersection with rainbow-coloured pillars, take the stairs up and walk to Block 305. That’s where you’ll see another flight of stairs on your right, leading down to the tracks.
Some parts of the exposed tracks have been covered by overgrown grass, giving cottagecore vibes. You can also take inspo from beloved Taiwan dramas, and pretend you’re releasing sky lanterns in ShiFen and take drama-worthy pics with your partner.
There were several shaded spots near the tracks, making for a great picnic spot – just remember to bring a picnic mat to set atop the thick grass and you’ll be good to go. And if you’re feeling peckish from all that walking, there’s a nearby coffee shop at Block 308 where you can refuel and grab some grub. Else, walk to The Clementi Mall that’s 15-minutes away.
If you’d like to skip the previous trail and drive directly to the Sunset Way Railway Tracks, you can park your car at the public HDB carpark at Block 305 that’s a close 3-minute walk away. You can also take bus 284 from Clementi Interchange and alight at Blk 308, and walk 300m to the tracks.
We started off at the abandoned tunnel near Maju camp, headed over to the truss bridge and ended off at the Sunset Railway Tracks – taking about an hour for the 2.1km route. Taking into account that I have a self-proclaimed 80-year old physique, and that we stopped a couple of times to take pictures, I’d say that this route is rather manageable for most people.
Soak up Singapore’s natural landscape while soaking in relics from the past by hiking along the lesser-known Jurong Railway Line. It’s also an opportunity to explore the western region of Singapore if you haven’t already.
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Originally published on 19th April 2021. Last updated on 22nd May 2022.
Photography by Alvin Wong.
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