Review Detail

Others D damien April 02, 2013 1663
The forgotten railway
Overall rating 
 
3.5
Enjoyment 
 
3.5
Overall Experience 
 
3.5
Bukit Timah to Clementi Railway to Jurong Island by train? This is Singapore's forgotten railway

A couple of high school kids I chatted to whilst sheltering from a rain storm one day last year in Macritchie Forests, mentioned that if I walked back towards the city from Bukit Timah railway station about 200 meters, and kept my eyes peeled to the right I’d see some old sleepers. Their advice? Fight through the tall grass and shrubs and you’d find the old railway to Clementi and Jurong Island

Sure enough, I did, and I did! It was as if a magical or forgotten world opened up as I pushed the shoulder high shrubs aside and saw two rusting railway tracks leading off into dense forest.

And what a marvelous walk it turned out to be. It is hardly an easy stroll. Trees many metres high grow up between the rails and sleepers. In places, landslides make the going muddy and almost impassable. A nasty, muddy tunnel winds under Clementi Road, but you’d never know the road was there. Here you are totally surrounded by forest. To be here in the middle of a city-state and to feel so isolated is quite amazing.

Surrounded by forest? Cool! Shady! That is essential in Singapore.

There is a down side. It strikes me that if dengue is on the rise in Singapore, this might be a good starting point for mozzie control: the line is awash with stagnant pools which seemed to provide excellent breeding grounds.

Past the tunnel the tracks disappear under mud and felled trees and you begin to see for the first time the ugly backsides of HDB monstrosities. Then you burst out on to the old Clementi Bridge with its ubiquitous Singapore Government warning sign telling you it is not safe.
Hmmm. Up to you. Do the right thing and cross the road safely or walk across the disintegrating bridge. Beyond that point, the tracks continue (more or less) to the north west, past temples and grasslands till you reach the West Coast Road at Faber Park area. (No, it’s nowhere near Mount Faber.) From there they disappear into a narrow verge of overgrown impenetrable bush.

I tried walking along the last section of the line harassed by the fumes from the trucks tearing up the busy road towards Jurong Island, but walking along a road filled with noisy lorries is not quite the same as fighting through the stingy silence of albeit secondary forests.

Total distance? About 5 kms from Bukit Timah Station to the Pandan River.

Worth it? You bet.
LT
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Comments

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Ordering
August 29, 2013
I agree with you! That particular area is actually like a whole new world isn't it? Makes you feel like you are not in Singapore at all!
K
khairul-nizam
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