Activities

Rail Corridor Guide: 24km Trail Linking Clementi Forest, Truss Bridge & Bukit Timah Railway Station

Rail Corridor Singapore


There is no shortage of places to go in Singapore if you want to be one with nature. Really –  there are at least 50 hiking trails and another 350 nature parks and reserves you can explore.

One of them is the Rail Corridor – a 24km-long route that runs from Kranji all the way to the old Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. Exploring the whole stretch might be a doozy if this is your first time. But no worries, we’ve done the homework to find the coolest things to check out on this trail.


What you should know before hiking Rail Corridor Singapore?


The entire trail is about half the length of Singapore, at 24km, and you’ll need about 5 hours to hike the whole thing from start to finish. Not a lot of people hike the entire trail in one go, but if you’re up for the challenge, Rail Corridor North is reputed to be the better start point since it has more interesting attractions and is highly accessible. You can enter via the Kranji Node, located right opposite Kranji MRT.

It’s best to avoid staying till late as well – while you could access the corridor 24/7, only certain areas are lit up at night. Bicycles and hikers share the paths at certain portions, so if you’re coming on a 2-wheeler, the speed limit is 10km/h!


What is the Rail Corridor?


Fun fact: There used to be a Malaysian KTM train line that cut through the middle of Singapore, from Woodlands Train Checkpoint to the now-defunct Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. 

Image credit: YC Ong via Google Maps

The last KTM train in Singapore was removed in 2011 and since then, parts of the railway have been preserved or developed into a nature trail. Enter what we know today as the Rail Corridor, which is split into 2 parts: Rail Corridor North and Rail Corridor South:


– Rail Corridor North –


Taking up a major part of the whole corridor is Rail Corridor North. The trailhead is located just opposite Kranji MRT station and runs 10km south all the way to Hillview. But that doesn’t mean you’ll need to start exploring from either end. There are more than 30 points of access along this stretch that include Kranji War Memorial, Choa Chu Kang Road, and Hillview MRT.


Kranji Node



Image credit: NParks Facebook

If you do find yourself in the North, start your trek of Rail Corridor North at Kranji Node. It’s an easy 250m walk on flat ground and in the shade, thanks to the numerous trees that line the trail – perfect for newbie hikers. But trust us, once you’re done here, you’ll want to trudge on further to explore the rest of the corridor.


Hillview Bridge



Image credit: NParks via Facebook

So, you’ve made the decision to continue the hike past Kranji Node. A wise choice, as you’ll be greeted by a 6m-high lookout deck at Hillview Bridge. Step up and you’ll get IG-worthy views of Rail Mall and its surroundings. If you come in the evening or really early in the morning, you’ll even get to catch the sun peeking above the horizon.


– Rail Corridor South –


The Southern part of the whole trail picks up from Hillview, all the way down to Spooner Road for now. In the future, the trail will continue on towards Tanjong Pagar Railway Station and this section is slated to open in 2026.


Buona Vista node



Image credit: NParks Facebook 

Now, if you’ve already explored most of the Rail Corridor, here’s another reason to swing by. The Buona Vista node is the newest section of the trail with a playground built from the topography of the land.


Image credit: NParks

There’s a basic fitness area for seniors, and open spaces like a community lawn and an area under the North Buona Vista Link viaduct you can do group workouts at, or simply enjoy a picnic on a cooler day. Best of all, they’ll also be adding water stations and power plugs to this space by May 2024. Yep, no more ded phone batteries


Truss bridges


When you continue the trail from Hillview Bridge, you’ll come across 2 truss bridges – IG-famous spots that you might have come across on your feed. Its popularity comes as no surprise though, especially with that aesthetic geometric structure and jet-black steel frames that our cameras can’t say no to. 

Image credit: @shyh_how via Instagram

The 1932 Bukit Timah truss bridge was most recently reinforced and re-opened in March 2021. No worries about it losing too much of its historic touch as it looks pretty much the same as it once did in the past. Maybe just cleaner, and with a few added safety rails.


Bukit Timah Railway Station


Image credit: @mojopy via Instagram

No surprises that the Bukit Timah truss bridge will lead you straight to the Bukit Timah Railway Station. While the station no longer operates, the area was restored and reopened in 2022 as part of the Rail Corridor.

The station building has been converted into a heritage gallery where you can learn about its historical significance while seeking refuge from the heat. Of course, the iconic signage and ticketing booth remain untouched so it’s not too late to take pictures with them.

1932 Story Cafe.
Image credit: Eatbook

If you’ve been looking to catch a break, this is the perfect spot for one. The former Railway Staff Quarters have been repurposed into a cafe. 1932 Story Cafe will have you feeling like you’ve stepped into the previous century with their antique furniture.

The menu is far more modern though; local and Western fusion fare like classic Hawaiian Pizza (from $18.90) and Malay Rendang Beef Pie ($10.90) are available here.


Clementi Forest


The railway tracks and bridges are cool and all, but if you’d like to escape the concrete jungles for a bit, head on into the Clementi Forest. The pocket of wilderness is shrouded by tall trees so you won’t be able to spot a single hint of civilisation in sight. 

View of the valley from the Rail Corridor trail
Image credit: Kezia Tan

The best time to head there is said to be at dawn, when a dreamy fog blankets the forest. But having tried and failed at waking up early, my friends and I have also discovered that visiting around 10am is almost equally as scenic. Just be sure to go on a day with clear blue skies and don’t forget to wear sturdy shoes as the route can be pretty slippery.


Explore the Rail Corridor


With a handful of history and nature in store, the Rail Corridor is perhaps the perfect spot for your next local adventure.

Even if you’ve visited before, a revisit might be worth your while. The central 4km section of the trail has also seen recent improvements – with strengthened trails and the addition of more than 1,500 trees.

Getting there: There are more than 30 access points along the trail. Check the Rail Corridor Map for more details on how to enter.

For more hiking spots in Singapore, also read: 


Cover image adapted from: Yna Alba via Google Maps, Eatbook
Original article published on 26th Mar 2021. Last updated by Kezia Tan on 29th April 2024.

 

Kezia Tan

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