Old Jurong Line

Many people remember the KTM railway tracks that were removed in mid-2011 when the land was returned to Singapore. But do you know that there is another stretch of railway tracks in Singapore that is left relatively untouched? This is definitely good news for people who missed the opportunity to visit the main track. I personally could only afford a few hours at the main tracks and it wasn’t sufficient. And then I read about the Old Jurong Line… and so I made a trip down.

Old Jurong Line 01
Old Jurong Line

The Jurong Line was completed in 1965 and ran from Bukit Timah to the Jurong Industrial Area. It was used to transfer goods due to the lack of proper road systems. However, usage was low and it ceased operations in the early 1990s.

The line branched out from the main railway line after Bukit Timah Railway Station, and ran across Clementi Road into the Sunset Way estate.

Old Jurong Line - Clementi Road Crossing
I observed these barriers on both sides of Clementi Road. Possible indication of the original position of the tracks?

Sunset Way Bridge
Status: Found

Old Jurong Line - Sunset Way Railway Bridge 01
Sunset Way bridge

The railway then spanned across Sungei Ulu Pandan, via the Sunset Way Bridge.

Old Jurong Line - Sunset Way Railway Bridge 02
Old Jurong Line - Sunset Way Railway Bridge 03
The Sunset Way bridge is now out of bounds

However, the bridge was already out of bounds, and I could only capture views from the Ulu Pandan Park Connector.

Informal Farming Plots
Status: Found

Old Jurong Line 07
Informal farming plots in front of Blk 301

In March 2012, this plot of land in front of Blk 301 Clementi Ave 4 hit the headlines when the Singapore Land Authority (SLA) issued eviction notices to residents occupying the state land illegally. The residents set up farming plots, sheds and even makeshift places of worship along the old railway tracks, creating fire hazards and collecting stagnant water.

Old Jurong Line 06
Old Jurong Line 05
The farming plots had supposedly intruded into state land

After negotiations through their MP, the residents were allowed to continue their farming within newly designated areas.

Old Jurong Line 04
Old Jurong Line 02
Staircase leading to Blk 301

This area can be easily accessed via a flight of stairs next to Blk 301. Other than the farming plots, the railway tracks were still relatively untouched, albeit covered in a coat of rust and moss, when I visited.

Old Jurong Line 03
Old Jurong Line 08
Old Jurong Line 09
The tracks run under Clementi Ave 6

The tracks continued along Sungei Ulu Pandan underneath Clementi Ave 6, but soon disappear underground, beneath an open plot of land.

Old Jurong Line 10
Old Jurong Line 11
The open space next to Singapore Buddhist Youth Mission

The tracks re-emerge near the Singapore Buddhist Youth Mission building, underneath Commonwealth Ave West and the MRT tracks.

Old Jurong Line 13
Old Jurong Line 14
Underneath Commonwealth Ave West

This stretch of tracks also runs closely along the Ulu Pandan Park Connector.

Old Jurong Line 12
The tracks run parallel to Ulu Pandan Park Connector and Sungei Ulu Pandan

On the other side of the flyover, the tracks run past ITE College West (Clementi Campus) before entering the Faber Heights.

Old Jurong Line 18
ITE College West (Clementi Campus) is just nearby

AYE Railway Crossing
Status: Found

Old Jurong Line 15
AYE, running across Sungei Ulu Pandan

The tracks then run alongside AYE and cross Sungei Ulu Pandan once again. Like the Sunset Way Bridge, this bridge is now out-of-bounds.

Old Jurong Line 16
Old Jurong Line 17
This bridge is also out of bounds

I stopped my exploration here, but the tracks actually run much further west. It runs through a tunnel under AYE and across Teban Gardens, continuing through the industrial estate before ending within the Exxon Mobil compounds, near Pulau Samulun. There are also a few branch-offs that lead to Jurong Port, near Pulau Damar Laut. I’ve marked out the whole stretch of railway tracks on the map below.

File Last Updated: March 24, 2014

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3 responses to “Old Jurong Line

  1. interesting. i didnt know about the jurong line. how to get there?

  2. From post: “AYE Railway Crossing, Status: Found”

    The railway bridge over Sungei Pandan – Sungei Ulu Pandan confluence is now lost — it was demolished recently. The replacement bridge beside it is boringly nondescript — it neither bears any resemblance to, nor provides any reminder of its historic predecessor.

    I walked across this rusty steel railway bridge once in the late 1990s, before NParks hoarded it up. A few of the timber sleepers, mild steel planks & side railings were missing, so it was quite a thrilling walk across the river. However, despite the bridge’s rickety appearance, people often cycled across it without any issue.

    From post: “It runs through a tunnel under AYE and across Teban Gardens.”

    There were 5 tunnels along the KTM-Jurong line. The 200 ft (61 m) long KTM-Teban tunnel (now hoarded up, courtesy of SLA) was the longest tunnel. Incidentally, the tunnels of this line were noted for being the first railway tunnels in both S’pore & Malaysia to be reinforced with corrugated steel plates imported from the US.

    If you had walked the Jurong line into Teban Gardens during the 1980s till the early 2000s, one of the most eye-catching sights encountered upon emerging from the Teban tunnel would be the twin “rivers” of Pandanus amaryllifolius (Fragrant Pandan) planted on both sides of the railway track. This “sungei” Pandan stretched for ~100m westwards from the tunnel. The Pandan shrubs were planted & maintained by an elderly Malay lady — you could literally buy fresh Pandan leaves off the railway track, if you wished to.

    During that same period, the rail corridor along Teban Gardens was very luxuriant. The entire stretch (~950 m, from Teban tunnel to the railway barrier at Penjuru Road) was completely covered with dozens of farm plots cultivating various types of vegetable crops, herbs & spices, as well as fruit trees. There were also poultry enclosures with chickens & ducks.

    Unfortunately, SLA entered the scene around 2002, & put up lawyer’s letters along the Teban rail corridor. Then the bulldozers rolled in & dumped 3 metre’s depth of orange clay earth on top of everything, leaving a rain-filled ditch in the middle under which the intact railway track was shallowly buried.

    In Jan/Feb 2011, a few months before the KTM land handover to S’pore, SLA’s bulldozers appeared again — this time to tear out (not lift up) the buried & by now rusted/ rotted railway track, breaking it into thousands of pieces during the process. The debris (consisting of broken timber sleepers, steel rails, vintage rail clips, rubber pads, etc.) was not taken away, but simply dumped inside the ditch — as if to rub insult into the reopened, gouged-out wound.

    If you visit the Teban rail corridor today, the kampung farm scene there is actually a pale shadow (30%) of its former glory. Meanwhile, the remaining unocuppied sections are filled with weeds, & mowed by SLA every few months. In any case, I guess this rail corridor is scheduled for another round of complete destruction by 2030 to make way for the more lucrative Jurong Regional MRT line.

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