Heritage

Spooner Road – An Estate Stuck in Time With A Hidden Railway Yard & Rumoured Hauntings

Spooner Road estate in Kampong Bahru, Singapore


On weekends, you know where you’ll catch many Singaporeans – conquering a hiking trail or 2, like the Rail Corridor to Tanjong Pagar Railway Station. It’s a challenging 24km route from start to finish and allows hikers to explore bits of Singapore’s past. The railway tracks you’ll walk on once ferried excited travellers to and fro Malaysia. However, there is a lesser-known part of the Rail Corridor located in Kampong Bahru, where monuments of a former railway yard still stand today in the Spooner Road estate


How old is Spooner Road?



Image credit: @renalogue via Instagram

Tucked away in a hidden corner of Kampong Bahru is the Spooner Road estate. It’s home to only 2 blocks of flats – Kemuning (Orange Jasmine) and Melati (Arabian Jasmine).

Named after Charles Edwin Spooner, General Manager of the FMS Railways that extended through Penang and Kuala Lumpur all the way to Singapore, Spooner Road estate dates back to the mid 1970s-80s. 


M.R. Running Bungalow.
Image credit: Jerome Lim via The Long Winding Road

These physically isolated flats, along with a structure named the “M.R Running bungalow”, used to house Malaysian railway workers in the 1980s. 


Image credit: @urbex.boss via Instagram

You’ll find metal window shutters lining the corridors, full door lifts with no glass windows, and fitted laundry racks for first floor units in the estate. All these are reminiscent of HDB blocks in the 90s and early 2000s, before the mandatory upgrading works were implemented. 

Kemuning and Melati are seemingly stuck in time, having been deprived of the usual HDB upgrading as they were only handed over to Singapore by Malaysia in 2011.


Former police post.
Image credit: @unconventionalpassionss via Instagram

Though these structures have been forgotten through time, a now-defunct railway yard, a police post, and an abandoned railway building are all that’s left standing as a reminder of its past as a KTM outpost. 

You might recognise KTM from the KTM Shuttle that travels from Singapore to JB in just 5 minutes. It was and still is the main rail operator for train services through Malaysia.


Is Spooner Road haunted?



Image credit: @nrhtdytz via Instagram

Rumoured to be one of the most haunted estates in Singapore, videos of supernatural encounters and documentation of real-life experiences along Spooner Road have been circulating the internet. 

Some speculate that because many units were left unoccupied for long periods of time, spirits were attracted and chose to reside in them. And once these flats were offered as rental units, the “peace of the spirits” were disturbed. 


Abandoned railway building.

Image credit: Uchify

The hauntings experienced by former and current residents were also attributed to the alleged suicides and accidents that took place in both the estate, as well as on the railway tracks. 

Head down to the Spooner Road estate for a ghostbusting adventure if you’re brave enough, though we would warn against agitating the spirits during the spooky 7th Month


When did Malaysia return Spooner Road to Singapore?



Image credit: @nrhtdytz via Instagram

Malaysia returned the Spooner Road parcel of land to Singapore in 2011 after the Tanjong Pagar Railway Station closed for good. The area was then redeveloped to build HDB rental flats. Kemuning and Melati are now home to several low-income families and provide temporary housing before they are able to secure permanent options. 

The M.R Running Bungalow built in the 1930s, which is now known as New Hope Community Services, is a transitional shelter providing housing support to ease male ex-convicts back into society. They provide counselling, life and job skills training, and savings programmes. 


Exploring Spooner Road today



Abandoned railway building at Spooner Road.
Image credit: @darto.graphy via Instagram

Put on your hiking shoes or grab a bicycle and go on a journey to explore Singapore’s railway history. Journey through the old train route along the Rail Corridor, spanning from Tanjong Pagar Railway Station all the way to Hillview MRT. 


Image credit: Uchify

Though the railway is no longer functional, visitors can still catch glimpses of Spooner Road’s history as a former KTM outpost. 

Other lesser-known places in Singapore with an interesting history:


Cover image adapted from: @nrhtdytz, @mister_tkk via Instagram
First published on 27th August 2021. Last updated by Raewyn Koh on 20th February 2024. 

 

Priscilla Tan

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